The Obama family hails from Chicago, where heavy snowfalls are not uncommon. But that’s not the case in Washington, D.C., which was largely shut down on Saturday morningĀ  by a blizzard when the president headed to the Capital Hilton Hotel to rev up a gathering of the Democratic National Committee.

The short ride from the White House was not without glitches. First, a couple of the 15 or so vehicles in the presidential motorcade had a hard time getting up the icy White House driveway. Then an ambulance that was accompanying the group had a slight fender-bender accident with one of the SUVs. As the cars approached White House grounds on the return trip, a tree branch fell on the same vehicle that had been scraped earlier, momentarily blocking the way.

Obama had serious things on his mind, such as healthcare and financial reform, as he spoke to a Democratic Party that has becoming increasingly concerned about the shifting tides of public opinion ahead of November’s Congressional elections. But the weather was an unavoidable topic.

“Good to be among friends so committed to the future of this party and his country that they’re willing to brave a blizzard — Snowmaggedon right here in D.C.,” he said.

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Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (A fresh layer of snow covers the grounds at the White House in Washington, February 3, 2010, following an overnight winter storm.)