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Kildee Doesn’t Mind Obama Ribbing

Rep. Dan Kildee says he and President Barack Obama are friends, dismissing the teasing he received from the president at Thursday’s closed-door meeting with House Democrats.

As reported by CQ Roll Call, after the freshman from Michigan asked Obama about creating jobs in his economically distressed district, the president poked fun at him.

“I can tell you’re a freshman because you didn’t pay much attention to the State of the Union,” Obama joked. “I talked about that.”

Kildee appeared on CNN Friday to discuss it.

“Here’s the thing, I’m in the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer talking about distressed cities. Any way that I got here is a good thing,” he said to Blitzer.

Kildee said he thinks Obama assumed he was missing his proposal for new manufacturing innovation centers.

“I was actually raising a much bigger issue about cities like Flint and Detroit and Saginaw, cities that have had, you know, significant economic dislocation and are structurally unsound,” he said. “In fact, not only did I not miss the point about manufacturing innovation centers, but the previous day I had been meeting with White House staff following up on the State of the Union.”

He called the ribbing a “lighthearted” moment.

“I think you sort of had to be there. … There was a lot of banter between the president and other members. I wasn’t the only one. This sort of, you know, created a little kerfuffle, but look, you’re not going to find a bigger fan of President Obama. We’re friends.”

Kildee said that although he is a freshman, he’s been with Obama five times since he was elected.

“He calls me Dan. In fact, the thing that he said that nobody seems to be reporting is he thought I was sort of classing up the place, but I guess that’s not as interesting.”

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