The meeting was billed as a summit to grease the wheels for partnerships with states to address issues that have stalled in Washington due to gridlock in Congress. But afterward, Republicans expressed skepticism.
“The Obama economy is the minimum wage economy. It’s increasingly evident this White House is waving the white flag of surrender when it comes to growth and opportunity,” said Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who led the delegation of GOP governors to the White House as vice chair of the Republican Governors Association. Jindal’s white-hot rhetoric just moments after exiting the West Wing could also be interpreted as an indication of his own presidential ambitions in 2016.
Haley, who faces a re-election campaign this year, said she is “more convinced now than ever [Obama] truly believes that government is the answer to creating jobs.” In addition to her concerns about the Guard, she also said she was disappointed in Obama’s intransigence on higher education, recounting an exchange initiated by Jindal regarding school accreditation.
“And [Obama] actually said, ‘I can’t have a bunch of states going out there and accrediting schools and having all these bad schools out there,’” Haley said. “He just doesn’t understand that if you give us the ability, we can put good policy in place. He doesn’t believe that. He believes D.C. is the one to do that.” But Democratic governors stood by their president in public. While he was walking off the White House grounds, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dubbed Jindal “a cheap shot artist,” according to The Associated Press. While governors repeatedly invoked their success at achieving substantive accomplishments on the state level, the icy reception between Obama and Republican governors appeared to mirror the administration’s frayed relations with Congress. There are 36 governors races on the ballot this year and Republicans are already using Obama as a battering ram in several. With Jindal and RGA Chairman Chris Christie – who did not attend the White House meeting – all eyeing runs for president, there’s little incentive for them to genuinely work with Obama, who remains loathed by the GOP base. (AP)