Thursday, May 28, 2009

Reactions to G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh obviously has some deep connections inside the Beltway. I don't think the rest of the world understands this. The reaction of the press to the announcement is priceless:

MR. GIBBS: One quick announcement before we get started. The United States will host the next G20 summit, September 24th through the 25th, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Q Where?

Q What?

MR. GIBBS: Did I get a little murmur there? That's -- there's a Terrible Towel back there somewhere, wasn’t there? There you go.

At the Pittsburgh summit, President Obama will meet with leaders representing 85 percent of the world's economy, take stock of the progress made since the Washington and London summits, and discuss further actions to assure a sound and sustainable recovery from the global economic and financial crisis.

Q Why Pittsburgh?

MR. GIBBS: At the conclusion of the meeting in London the group had to make a decision about where the next summit would be. Because a lot of people will be in our country for the U.N. General Assembly meeting, the President offered to host the next meeting; the group agreed with that, and we identified Pittsburgh as a good place to do that.

Q Why?

MR. GIBBS: I think it's an area that has seen its share of economic woes in the past but because of foresight and investment is now renewed -- giving birth to renewed industries that are creating the jobs of the future. And I think the President believes it would be a good place to highlight some of that.

I didn't see any video, but the exchange brings the word "dumbfounded" to mind.

As the stories hit the wire, the narrative of Pittsburgh as a comeback city dominates. However, the Wall Street Journal took a different approach:

The White House said Thursday that the G20 leaders will convene in Pittsburgh on September 24 and 25. By choosing the western Pennsylvania city (unemployment rate 7.6%, at last tally) the U.S. is turning to an approach often followed by the Group of Eight, the organization of big industrialized countries.

Over the years, G8 summits often have been used as an economic development tool, a way to bring businesses to cities outside the host nation’s capital. Italy, for instance, shifted the location of this summers G8 summit from the island of La Maddalena off the northeast coast of Sardinia to l’Aquila in the Abruzzo region, a town devastated by an earthquake in April.

Wouldn't Detroit make more sense? The power of Pittsburgh geopolitics in full display.

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