Obama Enters Wisconsin Fray, Backs Unions

Calls bargaining limits an 'assault' on unions
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 18, 2011 7:17 AM CST
Updated Feb 18, 2011 7:56 AM CST
President Barack Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011, en route to San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – President Obama has entered the fray in Wisconsin, slamming what he calls Gov. Scott Walker's “assault” on unions—and that's not all. Obama’s political operation, Organizing for America, has teamed up with union organizers to help build the thousands-strong protest in Madison and assemble demonstrations at other state capitals—including Columbus, Ohio, which saw thousands protesting an anti-union measure yesterday. The Washington Post reports that the political group made calls, sent emails, and posted messages on Twitter and Facebook in an attempt to bulk up the crowds at rallies.

“I think everybody's got to make some adjustments, but I think it's also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens,” Obama said in a sit-down interview with a local Milwaukee TV station. But House Speaker John Boehner criticized Obama’s involvement. “This is not the way you begin an 'adult conversation' in America about solutions to the fiscal challenges that are destroying jobs in our country,” he said. Some activists predict protests will also pop up in New Jersey, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. (Click for more on the Wisconsin Democrats who went AWOL yesterday.)

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