By Tom Tillison
Florida Political Press
As Barack Obama was exiting the House Chamber at the conclusion of last night’s State of the Union address, a very interesting exchange was captured on camera between the President and Rep. John Mica (FL-7), Chairman of the Transportation Committee.
Mica can be seen in the middle of a group of Democrat lawmakers clamoring for Obama’s autograph, standing next to Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA20), a huge high speed rail supporter who’s lobbying hard for the project in California.
As Obama approaches Mica, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to Obama’s immediate right and Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) directly behind him, the FL Congressman extends a copy of the evening’s program toward the President and they have the following exchange;
MICA: [smiling broadly] “Put the rest of the plan for the high speed on this one.”
LEAHY: [laughing – referring to Mica’s comment and looking at Mica] “He wants it in Florida first, right?”
MICA: [In reaction to this comment by Leahy, Mica can be seen smiling broadly and nodding his head affirmatively]
OBAMA: “We’re going to get it in Florida!”
MICA: [leaning back and speaking over his right shoulder after receiving his autograph from the President] “I’m the best cheerleader.”
Right behind Mica during this interaction, is Rep. Costa, who after Mica gets his autograph immediately steps up to Obama and says:
COSTA: “High speed rail in California, Mr. President.”
OBAMA: “That’s what we need!”
COSTA: “We’re doing it!”
Interestingly, Mica had this to say after his exchange with Obama;
“We need to change the direction of our nation. I welcome the President’s proposal to restrain the growth in spending, but his plan is far too modest to prevent the crushing debt that imperils our economy.”
With such a “crushing debt”, does it then make sense to spend $2.4 Billion on high speed rail?
Rep. Mica, having met recently with Florida Governor Rick Scott, who’s yet to commit to high speed rail, has been portraying himself publicly as being somewhat hesitant on high speed rail unless it can be assured that Florida taxpayers are not on the hook for any of the costs.
However, did Mica betray that position having been caught in this unguarded moment? And why is it that Mica and Costa are together, mere coincidence?
Being the only Republican lawmaker in the frame leaves one to wonder if Mica exercised good judgement in positioning himself in what certainly appears to be the wrong place at the wrong time. Of course, having sat next to the incorrigible Democrat Barbara Boxer throughout the evening, Mica certainly has a ready-made excuse for having such a lapse in judgement.
The exchange can be seen at this link, at the 02:20 mark – http://video.foxnews.com/#/v/4510939/dissecting-obamas-state-of-union/?playlist_id=87937