Will Obama Walk with Labor in Madison?

by Robert Costa

That question came up at Jay Carney’s press briefing this afternoon:

Q    And forgive me if I’m being redundant, I missed much of yesterday’s briefing.  But you’ve been asked about what he said about joining the picket lines back in 2007 when he said, “If 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.”  Is he ready to put on a comfortable pair of shoes and fulfill that promise?

MR. CARNEY:  I think, Chip, that the President, as President, has a — obviously an ability to be heard when he speaks, and he spoke to the situation in Wisconsin and his views on it last week.  And I’ll leave it at that.

Q    And I know you weren’t with him at the time, but do you think he meant that when he said it?  Is that a promise?

MR. CARNEY:  I wasn’t with him at the time, but again, I think that the President has different means of speaking out on issues and being heard, and clearly he did — he made his viewpoints known on the situation in Wisconsin, the need for people to come together.  He takes very seriously the fiscal situation that the states find themselves in — some of the states — and understands it because he understands it at the federal level.  But he encourages the parties involved to come together and sacrifice together and reach a solution that serves the interests of all the people of the states, just like he’s trying to do for the broader nation.