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President Obama on Why He Didn't Campaign in Wisconsin Recall Election: 'I've Got a Lot of Responsibilities


"The truth of the matter is that as President of The United States, I've got a lot of responsibilities."

Although President Obama declined to comment on the recall election between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett during last Friday’s news conference, he didn’t mind talking about it yesterday with a reporter from ABC’s Green Bay, Wis., affiliate WBAY.

I'd like to ask you about Wisconsin's recall election. There are a lot of Democrats that are upset you didn't campaign for Tom Barrett,” reporter Matt Smith asked in reference to the fact that the only piece of endorsement Barrett received from the president was a 112-character Tweet.

“The truth of the matter is that as President of The United States, I've got a lot of responsibilities,” President Obama responded.

“I was supportive of Tom and have been supportive of Tom. Obviously, I would have loved to see a different result. But the broader principle is that we want an economy that is not focused on a few at the top but is a broad-based economy that invests in our future, that makes sure we've got a strong education system that is thinking about workers and their ability to pay their bills, is something in everything I do,” he added.

See the WBAY interview here [starts at the 0:46 mark]:

Did he just say he was too busy to campaign for Barrett?

“[W]e'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,” the president added.

Smith asked the obvious question: what, if any, are the political implications of Gov. Walker's 7 point victory over the union-backed Barrett?

Do the results [of the recall election], when you think policy-wise, have broader implications going beyond Wisconsin going into the election?” Smith asked.

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. 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,” President Obama responded.

“My goal, if we can bring parties together, there are ways we can manage through tough fiscal decision whether at the federal or state level. But everybody's a part of it, everyone is doing their fair share and nobody's bearing the entire burden of sacrifice. I think that's what the American people are looking for: Balanced approaches that take everyone into account,” he added.

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