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Obama Meets With Easy Governors (D); Tough Ones (R) Come Later

Feb 25, 2011

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President Obama has been a punching bag for many Republican governors as they've criticized his economic stimulus spending, the health care law, the high-speed rail initiative, you name it.

Over the weekend, the president will get to see some of the very GOP governors who've been pummeling him, including some who hope to run against him in 2012 as their party's nominee. Most of the nation's governors will be in Washington this weekend for the National Governors Association's winter meeting.

On Friday, however, the president was able to fortify himself before meeting some of those Republican governors by first visiting with a group of their Democratic counterparts at the White House. In other words, the easy governors came first, the tough ones later.

As NPR's Scott Horsley reported for All Things Considered, it was definitely a friendly audience of state chief executives:

But Democratic governors say those politically-charged showdowns are really a sideshow. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, who heads the Democratic Governors Association, says most state chief executives take a practical approach to their job.

"All of us get things done. We're about getting things done. We're not primarily an ideological group of people."

O'Malley is one of more than a dozen Democratic governors who met today with President Obama and Vice President Biden. Before the meeting, governors were asked to survey business-people in their states about what it would take to encourage the private sector to hang out more "Help Wanted" signs.

"Our business leaders in all of our states understand the most important priority we have right now as a country is to create jobs."

Democratic governors' strategy for fostering job growth is a lot like President Obama's: Make sure companies can get the credit they need. Keep government regulations reasonable. And provide employers with a well-trained workforce. North Carolina Governor Bev Purdue says that last one is particularly important...

... After their meeting at the White House this morning, governors planned to sit down with a group of business leaders this afternoon. Delaware Governor Jack Markell says the would-be employers he talks to want to see more cooperation in Washington.

"I have not had a single businessperson say to me that they want the federal government re-fighting the fights of the last two years about health care. What they want us focused on is what are we going to do to create jobs. I can tell you coming out of this meeting with the President, that's exactly where he is."

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