National Public Radio’s Howard Berkes is reporting that the President is retreating from a campaign promise to hold a summit on rural America, a promise, Berkes contends, “that arguably helped propel Barack Obama into the White House.” Obama made the promise in Iowa, three months before he won the state’s Democratic caucus in January 2008. While at a farm east of Fairfax, Iowa, in October, 2007, candidate Obama said he would ask leaders of both parties “to join me in a summit here in Iowa…to take action on a rural agenda during my first 100 days.”
Berkes has been pressing the White House on how and when this promise would be fulfilled. At first, the White House said it had no comment. Then the White House press office told Berkes the stimulus bill showed the President “Is taking affirmative steps to help strengthen rural America.” A spokesman said Obama “is working with his Cabinet, advisers an congressional allies to form a comprehensive rural agenda, and is planning on hosting a forum to discuss those ideas.”
That does not include a summit within the magic first hundred days, however.