Fiscal Summit Not Exactly a Hot Ticket

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2009 10:20 AM CST
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer asks a question of President Obama at the close the Fiscal Responsibility Summit, Feb. 23, 2009, in the Old Executive Office Building at the White House.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – When President Obama announced his fiscal responsibility summit, it sounded like a momentous occasion. Turns out it was so momentous no one bothered to show up, Dana Milbank writes in the Washington Post. Administration big-wigs like Paul Volcker and Leon Panetta skipped out on the panels they were supposed to moderate; Nancy Pelosi wandered in late; Harry Reid was MIA. The attendance list even came with excuses helpfully printed beside each name.

Maybe, Milbank reasons, it’s because holding a “fiscal responsibility summit” in Washington these days is “a bit like having an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at a frat house,” or maybe it’s because the event was thrown together at the last minute. Obama didn’t get any decent recommendations (save David Obey’s that the president lock everyone in a room with some gin), but at the end he got some lavish, bipartisan butt-kissing, which is “almost as valuable.”