Obama’s Tardiness Sets Him Apart From Bush

Stephen Clark, FOX News, February 6, 2009

There’s a new time zone in the nation’s capital: Obama Time.

Barely two weeks into his presidency, Barack Obama has made a clean break from George W. Bush in several high-profile moves, including reversing a number of the 43rd president’s policies.

He’s also reversed an unwritten but much-noticed Bush policy: Be on time, all the time.

Obama has been routinely late to events and news conferences, including the ones at which he reversed Bush’s orders. This has led to an already familiar refrain from the Obama camp: “He’s running late.”

The president was 45 minutes late Friday for a ceremony in which he introduced a team of outside economic advisers. He was 10 minutes late Thursday to a memo signing at the Energy Department. He was nearly 30 minutes late Wednesday for the ceremony at which he signed a bill to expand children’s health care.

Even before the inauguration, Obama wasn’t a punctual sort; he arrived late to a Jan. 8 news conference on the economy that was aired live by broadcast and cable networks.

When it comes to following the clock, Obama closely resembles Bill Clinton, who was famously late to events when he was president. {snip}

“To me, being tardy, it’s got to be one of two things,” said presidential historian Doug Wead, who advised both Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. “Bad organization that can be corrected, or it’s arrogance. It sounds to me like this is arrogance.”

{snip}

Obama was habitually late to events on the campaign trail and to meetings as a U.S. senator. In fact, there’s a montage on YouTube of him offering apologies for missing testimony and presentations because of his late arrivals to meetings of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He even apologized in advance for asking questions that might be repetitive.

The president’s tardiness already appears to have spread to others in his administration. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs has been routinely late for daily news briefings, sometimes by more than an hour.

{snip}

[Editor’s Note: The YouTube montage mentioned in the story can be viewed here.]

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