Obama meets nation's governors for 57 minutes, and so far, so good

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Obama meets nation's governors for 57 minutes, and so far, so good

Post  Admin on Tue Dec 02, 2008 7:22 pm

According to the latimes.com


Republican Governors Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Sarah Palin of Alaska speak positively to reporters after meeting with president-elect Barack Obama and Vice president elect Joe Biden in Philadelphia today

First things first.

President-elect Barack Obama got in a good morning workout in Philadelphia today, met with 48 of the nation's governors-in-office or -in-waiting to settle the economic turmoil and crumbling infrastructure problem in well-kept Independence Hall and was back in Chicago for a late lunch, maybe another corned beef with mayo and mustard from Manny's. Yuk.

He's Super PEBO! (See video below.)

The point of the meeting, of course, was not to solve anything. It was to make a good first impression of cooperation and activism. To that end, it seemed to work fine. Not even House members are going to criticize a new president before he takes the oath. But they all sounded genuinely positive afterward, especially Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Obama purposely extended a gesture of friendship to his Republican colleagues. (California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger even got a cupped elbow, and Palin exchanged smiles and pleasantries.)

Michigan Democrat Jennifer Granholm, one of seven female governors, got a kiss, and Obama was heard to say to ...

... Louisiana's Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal, "You've got three of them!" Meaning children.

PEBO and VPEJB (Vice President-elect Joe Biden) got a standing O on their entrance. They each shook each governor's hand. And Mississippi's Republican Gov. Haley Barbour led the applause when Obama talked of cooperation across the aisle.

Any time a president meets with the nation's governors, he's looking out on a sea of chief executives who think he/she could do much better in the White House.

(George W. Bush prefers decision makers over legislative maneuverers. He often named governors to his team -- Whitman, Thompson, Ridge, Leavitt, Kempthorne, Johanns, Racicot to the RNC. Obama is expected to name New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as Commerce secretary tomorrow after tapping Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano for Homeland Security, but otherwise seems to prefer professional staffers, appointees and legislators.)

And the American people have tended to like govs too, electing governors or ex-govs in seven of the last nine presidential elections. (There was no governor running in the finals this time and Michael Dukakis couldn't get over that tank helmet and Willie Horton business.)

As this video shows, Obama said all the right things about ...

... cooperating with govs and seeking their input in the economic stimulus design, not just its implementation. (The news story is here.)

He also promised to fight the dreaded bureaucratic disease known widely in state Capitols as "Washington-itis," an affliction that causes those there to think they know best about everywhere else because they live in a swamp filled with monuments and museums. (Remember the federal 55-mph speed limit because that seemed so terribly fast to those on D.C.'s jammed Beltway?)

Speaking of overspending, maybe someone can figure out what this meeting cost the country per minute by adding up 48 govs' salaries, their staffs, transportation, hotels, Secret Service, not to mention those little hard candies the National Governors Assn. always puts out to promote tooth decay.

Even Joe Biden (remember him from the vice presidential debate?) got in a few words, though he's still technically a senator. Here's what Biden was scheduled to say:

"And Gov. Palin, your being here today sends a powerful message that when campaigns end, we are all partners in progress. Thank you."

Here's what Biden actually said:

"And Gov. Palin, I want to thank you particularly. I might point out, as I told you, we walked in. Since the race is over, no one pays attention to me at all. So I'm -- maybe you will walk outside with me or something later and say hello to me."

That drew laughs from all.

“It's great to see you, governor. And, by the way, I think it is -- I hope, you know, the whole country can see the sort of a metaphor for the fact that this election is over and here we are. We're all together. We're all dealing with a common problem.”

Oh, one more thing: The sharp-eyed pool reporter, Christinia Bellantoni of the Washington Times, noticed Palin, unlike her tech-know-nothing GOP running mate, working not one but two BlackBerries after the meeting.

-- Andrew Malcolm

You can order up automatic cellphone alerts of each new Ticket item -- with or without mayo/mustard -- by registering here. RSS feeds are obtainable here. And Amazon's Kindle has free Ticket delivery with LATimes subscription.

Photo credit: William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

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