'Barry' Obama Calls Kaine's Farewell Show

Wednesday, 23 Dec 2009 08:37 AM

By Sarah Abruzzese

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"Barry," "Bob" and "Gerry" called Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine on Tuesday to compliment the outgoing governor during his final appearance on his Washington-area monthly radio call-in show.

While the names are pretty common, the callers were hardly commonplace.

"Well, uh, Gov. Kaine, this is actually the president of the United States," said President Obama, who initially identified himself as Barry from D.C. "I have questions about traffic in Northern Virginia, but rather than go there I just wanted to say how proud we are of your service to the commonwealth of Virginia."

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Republican Gov.-elect Robert F. McDonnell and Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, Fairfax Democrat, also called in to chat during WTOP Radio's "Ask the Governor" program.

Mr. Kaine, who also serves as the chairman for the Democratic National Committee - a job he took at the president's request, laughed at Mr. Obama's traffic joke and then the two men traded compliments.

"I just want to say how proud we are of your service as governor of the commonwealth of Virginia and wish you and the family all the best this Christmas season, after a just terrific round of service for the people of Virginia," Mr. Obama said.

"Well, Mr. President, that means a lot," Mr. Kaine said. "As I think back about my four years as governor, I still think my happiest day as governor was in November of 2008 and the great work we did together across the nation and in Virginia was spectacular and I'm excited to continue to be in service, as they say."

After the president got off the phone, Mr. Kaine expressed disbelief that the radio show would keep the president on hold for 25 minutes.

"We had to verify who it was," said host Mark Segraves, adding that the president delayed the station's traffic and weather report.

Earlier in the program, when Mr. Connolly called in to express annoyance that his street hadn't been plowed, Mr. Kaine volunteered to come over with a shovel after finishing the show.

When Mr. McDonnell called in after the president, he was identified as "Bob from Virginia."

Although the two men congratulated and expressed their appreciation for one another, there were veiled jabs mainly centering on the biennial budget that Mr. Kaine introduced on Friday.

"Gov. Kaine this is Bob - Gov.-elect McDonnell here from Richmond. I'm calling in to see if you've found any more money," Mr. McDonnell said.

"Man, Bob, I'm so glad you're not asking me a traffic question. I was just so nervous you were going to ask me about congestion on Interstate 95. I'm still scrounging through loose change drawers, scrounging to see if there was any unspent money in the attorney general's office."

Mr. McDonnell, the state's former attorney general, responded that he'd "heard the place was really well run."

The incoming governor said the two men are great friends and had worked well together, with the exception of the time since Mr. Kaine took the DNC job.

Mr. Kaine responded by "telling a little story on Bob." The governor said he'd received a call from Mr. McDonnell before Mr. Obama was inaugurated in January asking for tickets to the event.

Mr. Kaine found him six.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC

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