President Barack Obama explained in a radio interview Monday why he didn't do more to help Wisconsin Democrats in their battle to recall Republican Governor Scott Walker: He was too busy.
"The truth of the matter is that, as president of the United States, I've got a lot of responsibilities," he told WBAY of Green Bay, Wisconsin. WBAY was one of eight TV stations given an exclusive interview with the president — six from battleground states Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Virginia and Wisconsin and two from California and South Carolina.
Obama said he was "supportive" of Walker's Democratic challenger, Tom Barrett, whom Walker thumped in last week's vote. "Obviously, I would have loved to see a different result," Obama told WBAY.
And the president said he would be working to ensure a different result in November.
"We're going to be fighting very hard in Wisconsin just like we have in the past," said Obama, who carried the state by 14 points in 2008 but saw Barrett lose there by seven points.
Asked whether the recall vote would have a ripple effect beyond Wisconsin's border, the president replied: "I don't think so. I think probably you've got specific circumstances in Wisconsin." "Keep in mind, it is a bit unusual when a governor gets this much attention in the middle of his term," Obama said.
"My suspicion is all across this country, governors who are dealing with tough budgets have to make tough decisions. But one of the lessons learned is that it is better to make them with people than against people," the president said.
Obama has repeatedly called for a "balanced" approach that combines spending cuts with tax increases on the very wealthiest Americans. Republicans have rejected that approach, saying it would starve the economy of investment capital.
The White House played down the ramifications of the recall vote last week. But Obama did little to help Barrett beyond endorsing him after he won the Democratic primary, though the president's campaign urged supporters to go to the polls on election day.