WASHINGTON -- President Obama has no current plans to visit Wisconsin despite pledging as a presidential candidate to “walk on that picket line” should workers be denied bargaining rights.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Thursday that he was not aware of any plans for a trip to Wisconsin, as the state government there remains paralyzed over an anti-public union measure introduced by Gov. Scott Walker.
Labor protesters have been clamoring for Obama to visit the Badger State.
Carney was reminded that, as a candidate, Obama had promised to not only empathize with, but literally participate in, protests against such anti-union measures.
"[I]f American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States," he told a crowd in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in November 2007.
That quote, which resurfaced on Thursday morning, roughly two weeks into the ongoing saga in Wisconsin, produced a slight grin on Carney’s face. Campaigns are filled with lofty promises to valued constituent groups but rarely does a statement from the trail fit so seamlessly into a post-election crisis or legislative debate.
“I think what we have made pretty clear is that the president thinks, and we think, that, obviously a lot of states in the union are dealing with fiscal issues, big problems in their state budgets… they need to act responsibly, tighten their belts, live within their means just as we in Washington, the executive branch, congress, need to do with our federal situation,” said Carney.
“He made his viewpoints known on the situation in Wisconsin the need for people to come together,” he added later. “He takes very seriously the fiscal situation that the states find themselves in… and understands it because he understands it at the federal level. But he encourages the parties involved to come together and sacrifice together.”