Govs Meet in 'Harmony,' Immediately Start Squabbling

Doesn't take long for things to unravel after White House meeting
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2014 4:15 PM CST

(Newser) – The chief executives of the nation's 50 great states emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama today apparently "claiming harmony," as per the AP. So that Kumbaya vibe took mere seconds to descend into a bickerfest held on-camera in front of the West Wing. Lowlights of the exchange:

  • Bobby Jindal got the party started, taking Obama to task about giving the economy a jolt via the Keystone XL pipeline, and blasting him for "waving the white flag of surrender" by focusing on raising the minimum wage. "The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that," he said. This elicited head-shaking among other governors, and Hawaii Dem Neil Abercrombie began mumbling.

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  • Dannel Malloy then grabbed the mike, saying, "until a few moments ago we were going down a pretty cooperative road. So let me just say that we don't all agree that moving Canadian oil through the United States is necessarily the best thing for the United States economy." Just in case that wasn't clear enough, he sniped: "I don't know what the heck was a reference to white flag when it comes to people making $404 a week. I mean that's the most insane statement I've ever heard."
  • And back to Jindal: "If that's the most partisan thing (Malloy's) heard all weekend, I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement. I think we can grow the economy more if we would delay more of these ObamaCare mandates."
  • Cue John Hickenlooper, who dismissed Jindal as a "cheapshot artist."
  • Notably missing was one Chris Christie, who was at a birthday party for his kid, leading Jindal to comment on the absence: The Republican Governors Association (which Christie leads) is "more important than just any one governor."
Politico notes that the exchange comes after Obama saluted the "practical governors" who "want to do right by your people" even if "there’s less room for posturing and politics." (Read more Bobby Jindal stories.)

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