Why Obama Didn't Campaign in Wisconsin: 'I Have a Lot of Responsibilities'
In his first public reaction to the Wisconsin recall election that saved Republican Gov. Scott Walker's job, President Obama said today that he "would have loved to have seen a different result," but was adamant that the election does not have broader implications for November.
"You have specific circumstances in Wisconsin," Obama told ABC's Green Bay, Wis., affiliate WBAY. "Keep in mind, it's pretty unusual when a governor attracts this kind of attention in the middle of his term. And my suspicion is that all across the country, governors who are having to deal with tough budgets have to make tough decisions, but one of the lessons learned is that it's better to try and make them with people as opposed to against people."
Last week, Walker dealt a painful blow to Democrats and labor unions when he became the first governor to survive a recall election, defeating Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee.
"My goal has always been if we can bring parties together, there are ways that we can manage through tough fiscal decisions whether on the federal level or at the state level, but make sure that everybody is a part of it and everybody is doing their fair share, nobody is carrying the entire burden of sacrifice," Obama told WBAY. "I think that's what the American people are looking for - balanced approaches that take everybody's interests into account."
The president backed Barrett from afar but did not campaign on the ground. Asked why he didn't visit the state Obama said "the truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I have a lot of responsibilities."
"I was supportive of Tom and have been supportive of Tom. Obviously, you know, I would have loved to have seen a different result," he told WBAY. "But the broader principle that what we want is an economy that is not just focused on the few at the top, but is a broad-based economy that invests in our future, that makes sure that we have a strong education system, that is thinking about workers and their ability to pay their bills, I think that's something that, in everything I do, shows that those are the values I care deeply about. And we're going to be fighting very hard in Wisconsin, just like we have in the past, to make sure that's the kind of government people get."