Obama Jokes Washington Needs to Toughen Up -- Weather-wise

Before meeting with thirteen business leaders from around the country in the Roosevelt Room– President Obama offered up an unsolicited criticism of his new town’s toughness.

“When it comes to the weather folks in Washington don’t seem to be able to handle things,” Obama joked about the first snowfall that blanketed the district with snow and ice yesterday and overnight, “We are going to have to apply some toughness to this town.”

Malia and Sasha Obama had the day off because of the snow today– their new school, Sidwell Friends, cancelled classes due to the inclement weather.

“As my children pointed out in Chicago school is never cancelled,” Obama said of his Midwest hometown’s ease at handling bad weather, “In fact my seven-year-old pointed out that you would go outside for recess. You wouldn’t even stay indoors.”

Those who braved the weather conditions to meet with President Obama today was just over a dozen CEOs from around the nation who sat down with Obama to discuss the impact of the weakening economy on business and workers.

“They make things, they hire people,” Obama said of the meting participants, “They are on the front lines in seeing the enormous problems in the economy right now.  Their ideas and their concerns have helped to shape our recovery package in order to get this economy back on track.”

As the $825 billion economic stimulus bill heads toward a key vote in the House this evening, President Obama signaled that he’s confident.

“I’m confident we’re going to get it passed,” he said.

Business leaders in the meeting with Obama today:

Steve Appleton (Chairman, President and CEO, Micron Technology), David Barger (CEO, Jet Blue), Greg Brown (President and Co-CEO, Motorola, Inc), John Bryson (President and CEO, Edison International),  David M. Cote (Chairman and CEO, Honeywell, Debra Lee (President and CEO, BET Holdings, Inc.), Anne Mulcahy (Chairman and CEO, Xerox),  Sam Palmisano, (Chairman, CEO and President, IBM),  Antonio Perez (Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company), Eric Schmidt (Chairman and CEO, Google), Michael Splinter (Applied Materials), Wendell Weeks (Chairman and CEO, Corning), and (Ron Williams, CEO, Aetna).

--Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller

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