Presidential Hugs and Brickbats

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There's plenty of coverage out there of President Barack Obama's southern California trip... which leaves a niche politics blog to highlight something else -- and that's what a difference a few months can make.

The President's itinerary today included time with the state's chief executive... who very publicly backed the other guy in last fall's election. Governor Schwarzenegger introduced Obama at a town hall event in Los Angeles this afternoon, along with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Also on hand: Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and others.

Yes, it appears Schwarzenegger was the only Republican.

The governor was a longtime backer of Sen. John McCain in the presidential contest. And his campaign appearance for the GOP nominee in Ohio last October 31 was much more than just an endorsement of McCain... it was also a strong rebuke to the Obama platform.

"America cannot afford the economic proposals of Senator Obama," said Schwarzenegger at that event.

Today, however, he praised Obama for his "courageous leadership" in these bad ecoinomic times. Times, yes, have changed.

Of course, times haven't changed for the governor's California Republican Party. Party chairman Ron Nehring has blasted out a couple of pointed press releases over the last few days about both the President's trip... and the President's policies.

"In the midst of our nation's worst recession in 75 years," said Nehring in his first statement, "Obama has left his seat of authority in Washington for a trip that seems to lack a clear purpose."

Today, he wrote this: "Barack Obama has only offered us more of the same: trillions more in new government spending, more borrowing, more money for bailouts, and more excuses in place of job-creating policies."

Compare that to Schwarzenegger's assessment of the President's economic stimulus plan in remarks made this afternoon: "This is the greatest package. I'm so happy that we're getting these kinds of benefits from the federal government and President Obama."

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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