White House: This much snow gets Obama’s respect

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Presidential quips about Washington’s supposed lack of winter toughness have disappeared as snow accumulations mounted.

Barack Obama had been in office for about a week in 2009 when he expressed disbelief that many schools had canceled classes one day because of ice. “As my children pointed out, in Chicago, school is never canceled,” he said then. “We’re going to have to try to apply some flinty Chicago toughness.”

Well, here comes more than a little ice: an estimated 20 to 30 inches of snow in Washington.

“I think even a transplanted Hawaiian-to-Chicago has sufficient respect for a forecast of nearly two feet of snow,” spokesman Robert Gibbs said Friday.

For all his recent talk of relating to the struggles of real life, Obama is in his own world on this one. As Gibbs said, “He doesn’t even have to shovel the walk.”

The president’s snow-weekend plans were set: politics and football.

On Saturday, Obama is set to speak at the winter meeting of the Democratic National Committee. Gibbs said Obama would likely be able to keep his scheduled appearance, despite the ominous forecast, because the DNC delegates were already in town and meeting at a hotel just a few blocks from the White House.

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On Sunday, Obama plans to host a Super Bowl party, as he did last year. His guests will include lawmakers of both parties, military service members and members of his Cabinet.

Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra and Barbara Lee of California and Rick Boucher of Virginia got invites. So did Indiana’s Andre Carson, Brad Ellsworth and Baron Hill. Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., is joining the White House for what could be his final Super Bowl in Washington; he announced he would retire rather than seek another term.

The lone Republican to land the invite: Rep. Joseph Cao, the only member of the GOP who supported a procedural vote that allowed the House to move forward on Obama’s health care overhaul that has since stalled.

Obama’s daughters, Sasha and Malia? Expect them to be out playing in the snow, which started falling at the White House on Friday morning.

Washington has endured a particularly snowy season, including a mid-December storm that brought about 20 inches in many areas.

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