Obama gives D.C. hosts a cold shoulder

By |
Local,DC,Alan Blinder,Inauguration

President Obama repeatedly snubbed his Inauguration Day hosts Monday, leaving the District's calls for statehood out of his inaugural address and all but ignoring a massive display at the John A. Wilson Building that urged "full democracy" for D.C.

But the brush-offs mostly failed to faze city leaders.

"I'm more interested in him helping us during his second term than whether he mentions us," said D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson. "I'd rather see him whip votes for a statehood bill or any of the other issues we've been fighting for."

Just last week, Obama heartened local advocates when he agreed to add the District's "taxation without representation" slogan to his limousine's license plates, abruptly reversing 12 years of presidential exile for the battle cry of the city's political class.

But aside from the license plates, Obama did nothing Monday to signal his support for the city where he has lived for more than four years.

Although Obama's inaugural address touched on themes of equality, he did not reference the city's plight, irking Mayor Vincent Gray.

Gray, who marched in the parade with a placard calling for equal rights for the District, said it "would have been nice" for Obama to have included the city in his remarks Monday. Gray also reiterated his view that it would be "entirely appropriate" to discuss the city during his State of the Union message next month.

And four years after Obama cruised by the Wilson Building in his limousine during the parade, Obama again opted to remain in his armored car as he passed the city's headquarters, this year emblazoned with a sign reading: "A more perfect union must include full democracy in D.C."

Obama had been walking the route, but he returned to his limousine shortly before reaching city hall, prompting boos from D.C. officials and their guests, who were watching the festivities from a $342,000 reviewing stand.

Vice President Biden, who showed his support for D.C. as he walked by the Pennsylvania Avenue building in 2009, also remained in his car, riling some leaders.

"It was a pretty serious snub," said Ward 6 Councilman Tommy Wells.

But Ward 4 Councilwoman Muriel Bowser, who jumped up and down as Obama passed, said she wasn't bothered by the president's actions.

"I thought his speech was brilliant and right on point," Bowser said. "There were times during his speech when I literally had goose bumps."

ablinder@washingtonexaminer.com

View article comments Leave a comment
Author:

Alan Blinder

Staff Reporter, D.C. City Hall
The Washington Examiner