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Washington Post - Obama Holds Economic Roundtable with Governors

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Location: Chicago, IL

Washington Post - Obama Holds Economic Roundtable with Governors

Sen. Barack Obama brought 16 Democratic governors here for an economic roundtable today -- and got more than just an earful about the need for better manufacturing policies and greater investment in the national infrastructure.

Obama also got to project a strong image of himself surrounded by a popular, diverse group of Democrats -- some who backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, others from vital swing states -- on an issue that could be determinative in several regions.

On the panel: Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas; David Paterson of New York; Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania or Pennsylvania; Janet Napolitano of Arizona; Ted Strickland of Ohio; Jennifer Granholm of Michigan; Jon Corzine of New Jersey; Christine Gregoire of Washington; Mike Easley of North Carolina; Ted Kulongoski of Oregon; Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming; Martin O'Malley of Maryland; Bill Richardson of New Mexico; Jim Doyle of Wisconsin; David Baldacci of Maine; Jim Manchin of West Virginia; and the wife of Chet Culver, who was unable to attend himself because of the flooding in his state of Iowa.

"You deserve and you need a partner in the White House and a president who understands our prosperity doesn't come from Wall Street or Washington," Obama told the group, with whom he also had dinner the night before. "We should be investing in the skills, the human capital, the education and well-being of your constituents."

The group complained widely about President Bush's stewardship of the economy and treatment of their states. Granholm said 400,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in her state since he took office. Strickland said that, last week alone, he took calls from companies in his state informing him that up to 12,000 jobs are about to be lost. And Freudenthal said that, on environmental issues important to his state, he was looking forward to having a "partner for a change, as opposed to a dictator."

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