WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama today weighed in on the labor standoff in Wisconsin at his White House meeting with Republican and Democratic governors – all without saying the words “labor” or “union” or “Wisconsin.”
“I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon,” he said in his remarks.
We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make. We’re not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we don’t properly reward that bravery. So yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises we’ve made as a nation. Those will be tough conversations, but necessary conversations. As we make these decisions about our budget going forward, I believe that everyone should be at the table and that the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. If all the pains borne by only one group – whether it’s workers or the seniors or the poor – while the wealthiest among us get to keep or get more tax breaks, we’re not doing the right thing.
It was a subtle take that may fall flat with die hard union supporters.
In a tweet to White House spokesman Jay Carney, Sharon Rossie questioned, “Why is Ppresident Obama not in Wisconsin standing up for the public employees?”
Carney’s response: “POTUS today: everyone has to give to help deal with budget challenges. But public employees should not be ‘denigrated’.”