When a bipartisan group of governors briefed the media Monday after meeting with President Barack Obama, their spirit of goodwill and collaboration quickly vanished once discussion turned to the minimum wage.
National Governor’s Association Chair Mary Fallin (R-OK) told reporters that the group’s meetings showed “there a lot of great ideas” coming from both Republican and Democratic governors, even if there were some differences of opinion.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) later took the mic to say that if Obama was serious about improving the economy he would act on the Keystone XL pipeline. He then accused the administration of “waving the white flag of surrender” on the economy by pushing for a minimum wage increase.
“The Obama economy is now the minimum wage economy,” Jindal said.
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) jumped in and called Jindal’s remark “the most partisan statement that we’ve had all weekend.”
“I don’t know what the heck was a reference to a white flag, when it comes to people making $404 a week,” he said. “That’s the most insane statement I’ve ever heard, quite frankly.”
Then Jindal returned up to the mic to up the ante: “If that was the most partisan statement he’s heard all weekend, I want to make sure that he hears a more partisan statement,” he said before repeating his case against a minimum wage hike. “I think we could also grow the economy more if we delay more of these Obamacare mandates.”
“Bipartisan doesn’t mean though that we have to ignore our real substantive, philosophical differences,” he added. “We just have a difference of opinion on this.”
Earlier in the day, Obama had praised the governors for taking a more “practical” approach to politics than members of Congress.
“The point is, even when there is little appetite in Congress to move on some of these priorities, at the state level you guys are governed by practical considerations,” Obama said, according to a transcript of his remarks. “You want to do right by your people and you see how good policy impacts your citizens, and you see how bad policy impacts your citizens, and that means that there’s less room for posturing and politics, and more room for getting stuff done.”
Watch the video over at CSPAN, at the 12:45 mark.
This post has been updated.