Obama Turns to Governors for Help, Support

Philadelphia conference offers president-elect a chance to meet, talk with state leaders

It's never happened before, organizers say, that a president-elect has sat down with U.S. governors to address their concerns and their roles in the upcoming administration.

On Tuesday, President-elect Barack Obama and Vice-President-elect Joe Biden did just that in a meeting with the U.S. Conference of Governors at Philadelphia's Independence Hall.

Today’s session is the first time a president-elect will meet with 50 governors of the U.S. states and territories before he formally takes office, said NGA Executive Director Raymond Scheppach.

"It’s unprecedented," Scheppach said.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who chairs the National Governors Association, opened the meeting by welcoming Obama and Biden and thanking them for making themselves available. 

Among those in attendance were Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and, seated directly behind him,  Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Biden addressed Palin personally, saying that no one seemed to pay attention to him since the election is over. 

"Maybe you'll walk outside with me when this is over and say hello to me," he kidded.

The governors expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to be heard and their concerns of the effects of the nation's economic situation on their constituents. 

Obama appealed to the state governors to join him in his efforts to put the country back on track.  He said he was not interested in asking the leaders to help implement his plan only, but also to help shape the plan.

"The reason this meeting is so important to Joe and myself is that we recognize that change is not going to come from Washington alone," Obama said.

After his formal address, he dismissed the press from the room and told the governors they would be at liberty to "really tell me what you believe."

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