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October 29, 2010 at 6:31 PM

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The gubernatorial fist bump

Posted by Mike Lindblom

If it's good enough for Mr. Obama, it's good enough for Ms. Gregoire.

After announcing Friday that both bids for the Highway 99 tunnel met the state's $1.1 billion target price (plus more than $210 million in last-minute allowances), the governor did a slow 360, rapping knuckles with the gathered pro-tunnel politicians.

As recently as 2008, a fist-bump between candidate Barack Obama and his wife was maligned and satirized as a a semi-militant gesture, depicted on the New Yorker cover. Before long, the gesture went mainstream, through professional athletes to neighborhood ballfields to the political playgrounds.

The semi-hip Seattle elected officials needed a bit of explanation from Gregoire, as the dapper guv gave daps. It would reduce germs, the governor said, explaining she had a cold.

In fact, a survey by the hand-sanitizer maker Purell found fist-bumps were a widespread handshake substitute -- and the health district in Charlotte, N.C. goes so far as to recommend them.

And if you squint and imagine enough, a lowered fist looks a little bit like the business end of a giant tunnel-boring machine.

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