Traffic complaint? You travel by motorcade!

December 22, 2009


Virginia Governor Tim Kaine was surprised on his “Ask the Governor” monthly radio show on Tuesday when caller “Barry from DC” turned out to be a particularly well-known “Barry” from Washington, D.C. — U.S. President Barack Obama, not a listener he was told was telephoning to complain about traffic, a laughable suggestion given the president cuts through Washington’s notorious gridlock with the assistance of a multi-vehicle motorcade and heavily armed security detail.

The president’s call to Kaine had been arranged in advance as a surprise to the governor, who is also chairman of the Democratic National Committee, to mark his last time on the show, which airs on Washington radio station WTOP.  Virginia’s constitution limits its governors to one four-year term in office and Kaine will be succeeded next month by Republican Bob McDonnell.

“Governor Kaine, this is actually the president of the United States calling,” Obama said and congratulated Kaine on his service as governor. With Kaine’s help, Obama won the state of Virginia in the 2008 presidential election, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate to take the state since 1964.

“OK, get back to your calls,” Obama instructed Kaine as their chat ended, delaying by two minutes the station’s trademark “traffic and weather on the eights,” which promises listeners those reports at 8, 18, 28, 38, 48 and 58 minutes after each hour.

Then-Senator Barack Obama (R) applauds on stage with Virginia Governor Tim Kaine (L) during an election rally in Bristol, Virginia, on June 5, 2008.  REUTERS/Jason Reed

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