President Obama was greeted Wednesday at the airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by the state’s Republican Governor Scott Walker. And despite the backdrop of the recall campaign against Walker, mounted by the state Democratic Party and organized labor, the two met cordially — and Walker even gave Obama a present to mark the trip.
Walker was originally scheduled to also join Obama’s appearance at the local Master Lock plant, at which Obama will promote his economic policies. However, he cut those plans short earlier today, due to a stomach flu.
From the White House Press Pool report:
Walker gave POTUS a white Milwaukee Brewers baseball jersey with OBAMA and the number 1 stitched on the back. They chatted for 30 seconds, amiably with smiles and a chuckle or two. Your pooler caught up with Walker, who said he is not going on the factory tour because of a stomach flu. It was not politics, he said. “If it was politics, I wouldn’t have greeted him here.” (more from Walker in next feed). At 11:50 CST we’re rolling to the Master Lock plant.
And the next pool report:
More from your pooler’s brief tarmac interview of Gov. Scott Walker: “We’re certainly pleased the president’s here. It’s a great focus for Wisconsin. We love manufacturing. That’s our number one industry. The bottom line is we’re one of the biggest, most dependent on manufacturing of any state in the country. We appreciate the fact that the president’s focusing on manufacturing.”
(jersey) “Last year I gave him a Packers jersey right after we beat the Bears in the playoffs. This year I said he probably was more appreciative of this jersey because the White Sox are not in the same division as the Brewers.”
(elections?) “Today’s the president’s day. I’m appreciative he’s in Wisconsin, appreciative he’s focused on manufacturing. We’ll leave politics for another day.”
Walker is the target of a recall election this year, after a signature campaign mounted by the state Democratic Party and organized labor, in a backlash against his anti-public employee union legislation and other parts of the state budget.
Second only to the presidential campaign, it will likely be the biggest and most expensive race in the country.
And just this past weekend, Walker delivered a headline speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington — and appealed to conservative activists there by specifically casting the recall as a national race, against liberal groups.