Talking to a local Wisconsin television network in a White House interview on Monday, President Obama explained his absence from the state recall fight against Gov. Scott Walker.
“The truth of the matter is that as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities,” Obama told WBAY.
Walker’s challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett got a late boost from visits by former President Bill Clinton and DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but a number of liberals grumbled that national Democrats didn’t do enough. Former White House “green jobs czar” Van Jones told TPM recently that to the extent that the recall was seen as a life-or-death fight for the labor movement, “you did not see a commensurate level of engagement” from national Democrats. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, who is running for outgoing Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl’s seat, said there is a “huge spirit of disappointment in Wisconsin right now.”
“Do we wish more could have been done? Obviously,” Baldwin told TPM at Netroots Nation.
Obama told WBAY that he supported Barrett and hoped for a different outcome, but he stopped short of saying that the recall will have broader implications going into the November election.
“I think probably you’ve got specific circumstances in Wisconsin,” Obama said. “… But one of the lessons learned is that it is better to make (decisions) with people than against people.”
Watch the interview:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com