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No coat, Mr. President? Update: Obama dons coat

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under President Obama Updated: February 26, 2014 - 2:58 PM

Updated

According to a White House pool report, President Obama wore "only a suit" as he boarded Air Force One for Minnesota.

Only a suit.

The pool report did not mention a coat, a scarf, a hat and gloves.

Nope, "only a suit."

But by the time he landed, Obama was wearing a coat.

According to a pool report, the president was "wearing a topcoat"  as he "walked down the stairs to an extremely windy and icy tarmac at 1:34 pm."

That means the president decided by the time he touched down in Minnesota on this 10-degree-feels-like-negative-10 day not to join the long line of politicians not dressed for the chill.

This post was updated once we got reports that the president took the advice of mothers and fathers' everywhere before venturing into the Minnesota winter.

Other politicians have made the opposite decision. From a Star Tribune piece in 2009:

It was about 11 degrees -- negative 10 with wind chill -- in New Hampshire on Thursday, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty, forgoing the advice of mothers everywhere, went coatless, hatless and gloveless.

"Cold?" a staffer asked him as Pawlenty walked a New Hampshire street.

"No, it's just like home," Pawlenty said.

But there may have been more than a Minnesota-toughened hide at work here.

"I guess each state in the union has its own test," for presidential candidates, said University of New Hampshire political science Prof. Dante Scala. "I think, in New Hampshire, the local test is about the weather."

Politicians want to look vigorous and full of energy and bundling up against the frost might counter that appearance, he said.

But then there are the three words that haunt every hatless politician: William Henry Harrison.

The month-long presidency of Harrison is best remembered for his delivery of a nearly two-hour inaugural speech in the Washington winter in 1841, sans coat or hat. He died of pneumonia a month later.

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