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Governors erupt in partisan dispute at White House


WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's governors emerged from a meeting with President Barack Obama on Monday claiming harmony, only to immediately break into an on-camera partisan feud in front of the West Wing.

Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal lashed out first, saying if Obama were serious about growing the economy he would approve the Keystone XL pipeline project and take other executive actions.

Instead, Jindal said, Obama "seems to be waving the white flag of surrender" on the economy by focusing on raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10, up from $7.25. "The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy. I think we can do better than that," Jindal said.

Jindal's statements were the kind that Republicans often make on television appearances or at partisan events, but don't usually come from potential presidential candidates standing yards from the Oval Office. Other governors had been instead expressing wide agreement and appreciation for the president's time. As Jindal spoke, some of his colleagues began shaking their heads, and Hawaii Democratic Gov. Neil Abercrombie began audibly mumbling to others around him.

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy took over the microphone from Jindal and responded sharply, "Wait a second, 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."

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican who chairs the National Governors Association and supports Keystone, earlier said she asked Obama when the administration would decide whether to allow it and he told her there would be an answer in the next couple months.

Malloy said Jindal's "white flag statement" was the most partisan of their weekend conference and that many governors support a minimum wage increase.

"What the heck was a reference to white flag when it comes to people making $404 a week?" Malloy snapped. "I mean, that's the most insane statement I've ever heard."

Jindal did not the back down.

"If that's the most partisan thing he's heard all weekend, I want to make sure he hears a more partisan statement," the Louisiana governor responded. "I think we can grow the economy more if we would delay more of these Obamacare mandates."

As the news conference broke up, Colorado Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, vice chair of the governors association, called Jindal a "cheap shot artist" as he walked off the White House grounds.

The public dispute came after Obama appealed to the governors for their help to advance his economic policies that stand little chance of winning passage on Capitol Hill.

"Even when there's little appetite in Congress to move on some of these priories, on the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations," Obama told the governors during remarks in the State Dining Room. "You want to do right by your people."

The president pressed in particular for states to act on their own to raise the minimum wage and expand access to early childhood education, two initiatives that have gained little traction in Congress since Obama first introduced them last year.

Several governors are seen as potential presidential candidates in 2016. Obama made light of the speculation about the race to replace him, saying he "enjoyed watching some of you with your eyes on higher office size up the drapes, and each other."

Not every governor met Monday with the president.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie left the NGA meeting early to attend his daughter's birthday and prepare for a budget address.

Facing multiple investigations in a political-retribution probe in New Jersey, the Republican leader also skipped a Monday news conference by the Republican Governors Association, which he leads.

Jindal shrugged off Christie's absence from the news conference, declaring that the RGA is "more important than just any one governor."

Asked about his own presidential ambitions, Jindal responded, "My honest answer is I don't know what I'm going to be doing in 2016."

Associated Press writer Jim Kuhnhenn contributed to this report.

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graciousman4351 March 08 2014 at 7:43 AM

Myself, I'm disable. But if I were employable, I would want the raise that President Obama suggested to help meet the cost of living expenses that are much higher than what most workers receive in employment. I also must say our economy since President Obama has been in office, has develop more in the needs for making our country in better standing for the depts we have accumulated decades ago

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ekc1226_eilene March 02 2014 at 8:12 PM

I have started a petition on the Whitehouse.gov site to ask the president to choose public school educators to fill important cabinet and advisory positions. Right now, his nominee for Undersecretary of Education (second in command) is the CEO of a rather aggressive charter school organization. PLEASE SIGN! It must have 100,000 signatures by March 29th to stay up and be considered for a response. After you sign, please share!

Thank you,
NC School Teacher


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billcdaly February 25 2014 at 7:17 PM

Don't you just love HP's headlines loaded with incendiary adjectives and strong adverbs?
Governors ERUPT - really?

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Tom February 25 2014 at 6:20 PM

Let Canada build their own refinery to handle their dirty tar sand oil. It's not in America's interest to let Canada bisect our country with the pipeline and for us to take the environmental impacts of the refining. As for the jobs it will create, the advocates are saying that hiring 5000 workers for five years creates 25,000 jobs. That seems like 5000 temporary jobs to me. They say it only will create a few hundred jobs to maintain the pipeline once it is built.

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jnwesner February 25 2014 at 5:27 PM

Wasn't it Jindal who asked that the Republicans stop being the Party of Idiots? I guess he changed his mind and decided it's OK.

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harolddundee February 25 2014 at 5:08 PM

Jindal said he doesn`t know what he will be doing in 2016. He doesn`t know what he`s doing in 2014.

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aseone12 February 25 2014 at 3:09 PM

Typical Republican playbook, they create the chaos, then obstruct any attempts at a solution. His constituency stands to benefit greatly from the Medicare expansion. He refuses to bring those dollars into his State and get healthcare for hundreds of thousands, who can't afford it and tax the heath system in the State. At the same time, they don't get the jobs that might be created. Then decries efforts to raise people to a living wage, including his own state, who are stuck in those low wage jobs. How about telling his Republican colleagues in Congress to stop blocking " Job Bills," that could have created millions of jobs so the minimum wage isn't sitting alone as a economic measure.

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posthuf February 25 2014 at 4:10 PM

Much better than the typical demoncrap playbook of buying their seats in office and giving away the nation.

"Democrats say they are going to fix everything. Considering they've held Congressional majority in 31 of the last 41 Congresses (1931, 72nd Congress to 2013, 113th Congress). Shouldn't 'we the people' be asking them why so much still needs fixing?

"A truly moral nation enacts policies that encourage personal responsibility and discourage self-destructive behavior by not subsidizing people who live irresponsibly and make poor choices." Dr. Ben Carson

"Republicans want a man that can lend dignity to the office. Democrats want a man that will send them money." Will Rogers

"When even one American - who has done nothing wrong - is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth, then all Americans are in peril." Harry Truman

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franknav1 February 25 2014 at 6:28 PM

Reply to assone12: You are just too stupid to respond to your convoluted logic! You are the type that is wrong with this country, just too many morons that don't know sh^t from shinola!!! That is why your shoes look and smell so bad all the time!!! I think you need a free pass to the Solient Green Machine!!!

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drkay2u February 25 2014 at 2:28 PM

Christie is my candidate for 2016, regardless of how he's being maligned.

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Tom February 25 2014 at 6:28 PM

Maligned? Big fat liar is more like it.

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drkay2u February 25 2014 at 2:27 PM

Jindel is an idiot!

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franknav1 February 25 2014 at 5:55 PM

What a profound statment!! Well if Jindel is an idiot, then what does that make you? A moron? Or maybe just a dumb F'er ?? Probably on food stamps and anyother freebee you can freeload from the Gov't, right?
Your IQ has to match your hat size!!!

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1 reply to franknav1's comment
Tom February 25 2014 at 6:31 PM

I'm not a moron, nor a dumb F'er. I served during Vietnam and I'm not on food stamps. Nonetheless, I think Jindel is an idiot too. I'm inclined to think you're one too.

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Christopher February 25 2014 at 1:47 PM

The only oil we need to worry about here in the U.S. is our OWN. We have enough right here to sustain us for generations at a affordable price, yet we still ship most of ours out, then buy from somebody else which is why the prices are so high. This next election we need to get rid of the LYING Democrats and put in office somebody who really cares about the people. I still can't understand why there has to be such a huge difference between the two sides?? The only thing each side should worry about is what's best for this Country and it's people. Listen to THEM!! Right now the Democrats are doing nothing but letting Obama create his Socialist Marxist Country. We are in a serious decline and fall and will continue as long as the current Government actions continue. Vote COMMON SENSE!!!

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2 replies to Christopher's comment
Kathy and Frank February 25 2014 at 2:31 PM

We were in serious decline when the Republicans were in charge. Obama and the Democrats are pulling us out of the hole that Bush got us into.

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posthuf February 25 2014 at 4:19 PM

Christopher was addressing the cost of oil (gas).

When Bush was in charge the only time the price of gas exceeded $2.00 per gallon was when the price of a barrel of oil exceeded $140.

He threatened to open the national reserve, and actually began to, and the price of a barrel suddenly dropped back to the $80 range where it had been before, and gas at the pump, which spiked at over $5 per gallon in my area was almost immediately back under $2 per gallon.

Since obama has been in office the only time gas has been under $3 per gallon was in the first 4 months of his first term.

And the REAL CRIME is that a barrel of oil has never exceeded $100 since he's been in office.

He closed 60% of the drilling permits Bush had issued, and closed nearly all federal land to drilling. The only reason our nation is producing more oil today is because states and private entities have stepped up production. Oil from federal land would be sold at a much lower price with profit based on volume. For smaller states and private entities they don't have the volume to compete with what could be produced on federal lands, so each contract is negotiated individually, and prices paid for the oil reflect that - as do prices at the pump.

You can't be for big government and big taxes and still be for "the little man."

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franknav1 February 25 2014 at 6:18 PM

Do you people read? Rather ...can you read? Most slobbering liberals generally can't ...read. That is why they don't know squat, they just beat their gums about their "feelings"They are too preoccupied hugging trees!!! Obama and deomrats are pulling us out of "the" hole??? Do you mean the National Debt hole? Do you even know what that means? Obama has put us deeper in the "hole",deeper than the sum of all president's debts since our country was created!!! And Obama thinks there are 57 states in the Union?? Right, a mental giant indeed!!

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Tom February 25 2014 at 6:34 PM

As for Obama being a socialist, how do you explain the fact that the number of government employees has hit it's lowest level since 2008. Odd that someone who shrinks government while increasing jobs in the private sector would be called a socialist. Consider the possibility that you don't know what you're talking about.

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