WASHINGTON â Talk about a summit in the making.
Friday, the White House announced that President Obama would be visiting âcentral Pennsylvaniaâ next week â specifically, Feb. 2 ... Groundhog Day.
Could it be that the President of the United States and Punxsutawney Phil are getting together for a meeting of the minds during Americaâs Second-Favorite Holiday?
What would they talk about? Health care? The economy? Using some of Punxsy Philâs life-extending elixir for that upcoming 2012 election?
Donât count on it.
âNo, Obama is not coming to Groundhog Day,â Inner Circle Vice-President Mike Johnston said Friday. âHeâs going be in State College, and thatâs what gave life to it.â
Thursday, the White House Office of Media Affairs issued a statement saying Obama would travel to âcentral Pennsylvania,â and that further details would follow.
Thatâs when the Internet went wild.
On its site, NBC Washington said Friday afternoon, âSo letâs break it down: Central Pennsylvania. Feb. 2. What could possibly be happening in Central Pennsylvania on Groundhog Day? Maybe ... a briefing with Punxsutawney Phil?â
Later Friday, the White House updated its Thursday statement, saying that Obama would visit Penn State University.
âAs part of the administrationâs strategy to win the future through new investments in research and development, the Department of Energy has launched Energy Innovation Hubs across the nation,â the office said.
âPenn State will provide overall leadership for the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for energy-efficient buildings that will be located at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia.â
The White House also said while at Penn State, Obama will tour labs focused on energy-efficient building solutions and deliver remarks on the importance of investing in innovation and clean energy âto put people back to work, grow the economy, and win the future,â a reference to his State of the Union address Tuesday.
Inner Circle President Bill Deeley also confirmed that Obama wouldnât be swinging around the Weather Capital of the World next week.
âI did get a call someone in Huntington who said, âDo you have something to tell me?ââ he said. âI said, âWhat?â I said, âIf he is coming, youâre the first to tell me.ââ
Johnston said if Obama were coming, the Groundhog Club would have known about it weeks in advance.
âIf in fact, he were coming, we would have been inundated with Secret Service for the past two weeks,â he said. âI canât imagine with security what it is, they would allow him to show up unannounced. But it is interesting how this thing has taken to life.â
No word yet as to whether the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come up with any new ideas for Groundhog Day, such as last yearâs proposal of replacing Phil with an animatronic groundhog.
âNo, nothing yet,â Deeley said Friday. âItâs early, though ... maybe Monday or Tuesday.â