President Obama has a significant inauguration gift for the District. No, not a big push for statehood, but a symbolic gesture of solidarity. Over the weekend the presidential limousine will be fitted with new license plates that feature the familiar DC slogan: “Taxation Without Representation.” Presumably they will remain on the car during his second term.
For whatever reason, during his first term, the President eschewed the plates, much to the consternation of members of the City Council and other supporters of the city’s statehood. Bill Clinton was the last President to use the plates.
A group called DC Vote launched a petition campaign in December to urge Obama to use the plates. Washington residents voted overwhelmingly for his reelection. However, he hasn’t appeared publicly with DC mayor Vincent Gray since Gray took office in 2010.
In a pre-election interview analyzing the 2012 race, Fox 5 political commentator Mark Plotkin called Obama’s treatment of DC “unforgivable.”