February 22nd, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Should President Obama stay out of Wisconsin's budget battles?


Demonstrators protest inside the state capitol today in Madison, Wisconsin. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The showdown in Wisconsin over Governor Scott Walker's proposal to restrict the collective bargaining rights of public sector unions as a way of dealing with the state's budget deficit has put President Obama in a tough spot.

He doesn't want it to appear that he's turned his back on public sector unions. After all, their support helped him win the presidency in 2008.

But at the same time, his federal government is staring at deficits the likes of which we've never seen before, and there is no sign he or the Congress are about to do anything meaningful to address them.

Last week, the president told a Milwaukee television station: "Everybody's got to make some adjustments to new fiscal realities" but then later added the proposed cuts seem "more like an assault on unions."

That second part got under some Republicans' collars.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called the comment "inappropriate" and said the President should focus on what's happening in Washington, not Wisconsin.

And Wisconsin's unions likely won't be the last to be targeted for cuts. A new government report finds that combined federal, state and local government debt now exceeds the size of our entire economy. Ohio and Florida also have new Republican governors who are trying to make deep cuts to balance their budgets, and many other states are facing tough decisions, as well.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Obama stay out of Wisconsin's budget battles?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Sylvia in San Diego:
Yes, yes and yes. He should be focused on the national debt and creating jobs. From what I've heard thus far, the governor of Wisconsin is quite capable and doesn't need outside interference.

Yes, he should. He has his own budget issues to contend with and should allow a state, any state, to work at cleaning up its own house as it sees fit under the law. It gives the impression he can't handle his affairs so he's trying to divert attention.

President Obama should watch what’s happening closely, feel free to express his opinion, but not try and influence the outcome in any way. I am sure he's smart enough to realize what’s happening in Wisconsin, Ohio and others are petri dishes to judge voters appetites for serious budget cuts. The results may become a harbinger on the federal level.

Marcy in Florida:
No, he should invite them to the White House and have a beer with them.

Gerry in Ash Fork, Arizona:
President Obama should keep his mouth shut. The states have sovereign rights to deal with this issue. We know where Obama is coming from as rabble rousing and labor unions are his forte. Jack, go back a few decades to corporations Seatrain and Kaiser Steel and see what a thorough job the unions did in destroying them.

Peg in New York:
Hard to say, Jack. On one hand, someone needs to be the voice of reason in Wisconsin. On the other hand, the voters made their choice at the polls. Whether they understood it at the time or not, they voted in and empowered a Tea Party candidate. In my opinion, let his actions speak for themselves. Maybe non-voters will wake up.

Filed under: President Barack Obama
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Renee Peoria,Ill

    He'd better not stay out of it! Let's review. Step 1: The previous Republican administration nearly destroyed our economy through overspending, Wall Street deregulation, and two unnecessary wars. Step 2: After losing the election they wait long enough for the current administration to 'own' the problem. Step 3: Go after the unions. Maybe we should call the Koch brothers and ask what step 4 is. While half the middle east is working hard to overthrow dictatorships we have a few select rich people working what seems to be a well thought out plan to establish one here. The true irony is they have a lot of Tea Party patsies helping them because they can't or won't see the big picture. If Obama isn't careful this will be his legacy and the hard right will be laughing right into the history books.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  2. Gigi Oregon

    President Obama should stand for the rights of the people, that is why he was elected. It is the Republican government and corporate America that is strangling the people of the United States with corporate loop holes and low or no taxes for the rich..

    Just as in Egypt and Libya "We stand with the People."
    And our teachers are worthy of their pay.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  3. Jeff in Minnesota

    Yes he should stay out. This is Wisconsin's problem, not the President's problem. He needs to keep his mouth shut, regardless of how he feels.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  4. pamh

    I think any President should stay out of specific state affairs, with that said I think the people in opposition need to unite and let themself be loudly heard. I think the President should help ralley his base to help drive the opposition out so their voices are heard and acted upon!

    February 22, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  5. Anthony J. Frascino from Swedesboro, NJ

    President Obama is the top spokesperson in the country and his views should be expressed. He's not a president who uses his position to hide in the White House fortress surrounded by spinners. Wisconsin's move to crush the unions is now crossing the country and appears to be a cabal of republican governors appeasing the tea party. The president knows this and is confronting these union-busters and the GOP's obvious tactics.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  6. Brian

    Obama should probably lock himself in the oval office until his term is up.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  7. dennis in pa.

    mr obama needs to focus on real problems and not those of a state trying to do the right thing by the tax payers! maybe he can learn how to fix the mess he added to and fix the nations deficeit. there are no right answers here just a reality caused by workers who where given things the rest of americans in the work force don't get or are much more expensive if they get those perks. the united states has more problems facing the president then him messing around in state issues! last time i checked the states have rights too! wisconsin is only the beginning. other states are right behind depending on the final outcome! maybe the president can see how these states get their house in order and just copy what they do and then fix the federal government.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  8. Mr. D

    Mr. president-MYOB! You have more than a full plate to keep you busy.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  9. marcy from Florida

    No, he should invite them to the White House and have a beer with them.

    February 22, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  10. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Not only should he stay out, he should take notes. However, like so many things with President Obama, what he should do and what he will do are 2 totally different things. This is a purely Wisconsin problem facing Gov. Walker, but rather than letting it play out, Obama is always more concerned about his reelection than anything else. People are kidding themselves if they think we can ignore public sector unions. These parasitic labor monopolies have destroyed our educational system. If Obama wanted to help, he could issue an executive order creating a right-to-work nation and overnight the playing field would change. Since he doesn't care about fiscal responsiblity (except as talking points) he needs to just stay out of it.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  11. Ralph Nelson

    No! The Seattle Times (2/22/11) reports the Koch brothers are begin the union busting and financing it. It's dirty politics and the President should call it what it is. Tell the truth..

    February 22, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  12. Bill in South TX


    Yes, the President should stay out of state budget battles.

    The facts are :
    Taxes must go up, there is no choice. States can push costs to counties and cities but, property taxes and sales taxes go up.
    It is necessary to fix the budget by fixing the tax system. The top earners have to pay more.
    The public does not know 90% of the wealth is in hands of very few people.
    Most citizens have very little money and wages have been falling. Seventy percent of us know someone who has lost a job. Half of us U. S. citizens share only ONE percent of the wealth in the U. S.
    Spending less does not fix the tax system
    The corporations want unions busted. They pay the politicians to do this.
    The public is assaulted with mis-information about the role of unions in setting wages.
    What is the balance to the total power of corporations?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  13. Fred in L.A.

    What do you mean stay out of it? He's already shipped in his union thugs from out of state to start knocking heads. Wake up Jack!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  14. Elki

    In 1944, FDR's government siezed the holdings of Montgomery Ward when its CEO thumbed his nose at the government and refused to abide by negotiated labor agreements. In the 40s and 50s - the era in which most republicans look back at with such nostalgia - approximately 40% of the labor force was unionized. When did things go sour? In the 80s thanks to the union-busting policies of the Reagan administration. Workers have seen their wages stagnating and their rights eroding ever since. Obama must decide which side of this ongoing battle his administration will be judged on: that of the working people, or the corporate-worshipers seeking their demise?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  15. steve - virginia beach

    Under the circumstances I think it would be appropriate for a President to support fiscal responsibility and point out that the federal government can't afford to bail them out. But American Presidents are supposed to respect state's rights and stay out of their busines. Obama's meddling in addition to using his political machine (OFA) to bus in troublemakers to manufacture public discontent is not only inappropriate, it shows complete disregard for the 10th ammendment.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  16. Bob D Morristown, NJ

    If, according to Graham, it is inappropriate for our president to comment on a state administrative / political matter, then it is even more inappropriate for a federal senator from a DIFFERENT state to do so. Of course Graham went on to give his own opinion. I've looked up hypocrite in the dictionary and found Grahams picture there.

    By the way, the issue is not about balancing Wisconsin's budget since the unions have already agreed to the financial concessions demanded of them to balance the budget. What Obama commented on was the non-budget matter of prohibiting the unions from bargaining collectively, which has nothing to do with balancing the current budget, but is union busting, pure and simple.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  17. Jenny

    Obama needs to stay out of everything except that which involves him, like dealing with Congress. He is definitely a union-bought man, one who wouldn't have been elected were it not for union backing. He now must support them or lose in 2012. I believe this is one of those "be careful what you ask for" situations.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  18. Brian in WV

    I believe Obama must support the republican governor. Democrats and union fear mongering aside, cuts have to start somewhere, and if Obama can't support just one state government without caving to his own party, then how can he confront the federal deficit ?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  19. Ken in NC

    YES. He still needs to get a budget passed for 2010 before the budget for 2011 comes due.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  20. Zack H

    Heck yes he should Jack! We need to redraw the line between state and federal government.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  21. Bob Maloney


    February 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  22. AJ

    Isn't Wisconsin in the USA? Is President Obama the President of the USA? Is he allowed to have an opinion of what is happening in every part of the country? NUFF SAID!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  23. Sue M

    Yes, President Obama needs to stay out of Wisconsin's budget battle.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  24. PiedType

    Of course he should stay out of state politics. He serves the nation, not just the union members who voted for him.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  25. Ken

    Yes, STAY OUT, – this is state's business, not federal.

    He should try to do his job, i.e. try to balance the federal budget.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  26. Cathy in Alabama

    I think he should. He's not happy ramming his liberal agenda through nationally-he has to butt into the state's business by taking Arizona to court and now supporting the Democrats big union donors in Wisconsin.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  27. Ginger Correll Galax, virginia

    Obama splits as many logs as his hero Lincoln. But as long as he is in the position of being criticized if he doesn't comment and criticized if he does, he believes he must take these middle of the road positions.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  28. Roy

    President Obama is quick to jump on the protest bandwagon when it is for a liberal cause. He needs to focus his attention on getting our country back on the path to prosperity vs fiscal ruin.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  29. Robert Bass

    Jack......when he was asked by the reporter what he thought....if he would have said nothing your question would be.....Shouldn't President Obama have commented on the issue in WI......he cannot win with you Jack!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  30. Connie

    Jack, this isn't about a budget battle. The Governor created this "crisis" with recent tax cuts for his cronies. Follow the money and you will use the Koch Brothers prints are all over it.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  31. PiedType

    Of course he should stay out of state politics. He serves the nation, not just the union members who voted for him.


    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  32. RCC


    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  33. MCM

    Obama has a job to do. Get America out of debt. Reid has a job to do balance the budget reduce the debt. The house has passed a bill where is the senate bill are they also hiding out in Chicago?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  34. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Remaining silent speaks a thousand words and Republicans are showing their solidarity with what's happening in Wisconsin by being silent. If President Obama hadn't spoke up in support of the people of Wisconsin I'm sure the Republicans wouldn't remain silent.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  35. Rev. J. Andrew Fyffe

    There is an old saying here in Illinois, it goes something like "Obama needs to clean up his own back yard before he presumes to advise others how to clean up theirs. From my perspective, I don't think President Obama has a fiscal clue how to clean any of this mess up.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  36. Ilene Cook

    No he should NOT stay out of this. This is not about budget! This is about Republicans trying to get rid of unions. Just another way to stamp out the middle class. If Obama wants in a second term he better stand up for the people that want him in and want what he stands for. The middle class.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  37. Hartmut Hinss

    Obama should stay out and use his time ti bring his own house in order

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  38. tom tillman

    YES! He has his hands full as it is, he doens't need to interfere in the states budget business! And it's inappropriate.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  39. Charlie in Texas

    Simple answer, hell yea. Will he? Hell, no. Chicago style organizing at it's finest. This is exactly what he has been advocating all along with his hope and change. He hope's that America will change to Socialism.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  40. Sparky

    It appears that Obamas lack of focus in his first two years is just continuing and Trump's comment that "he's in over his head" is quite accurate.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  41. John Dooney

    Hell no! This is not about the budget. This is about workers rights to bargain! This is an ideological attack on the middle class. I want the president to weigh in!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  42. Scott-Orlando, FL

    The American taxpayer and Federal Government are going to end up on the hook for a ton of state and local debt.
    As the leader of the party of common sense that says costs must be controlled AND revenues raised (read taxes) in order to deal with the problem there is no one outside Wisconsin with more right to weigh in.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  43. Peter Lapointe

    The Wisconsin protests are due to an assault by Govenor Walker on the citizens of Wisconsin and is not budget related. Staying out of the budget battle is one thing, but President Obama should not steer clear of the broader issue. This is a civil liberties attack that undermines the dignity of public employees and is an afront to middle class wage earners most affected by the financial downturn. Using the current economic crisis to throw the public employee under the bus is a red herring argument that cannot be rolled out as a state's rights issue.

    Plainfield, MA

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  44. Chris Bevers

    I think the President can validate some of these issues, in Wisconsin and other states. What is NOT covered is that the moneys Walker says he'll save per year over the next two years by raping public workers will offset the tax breaks Wisconsin gives to companies that do business here. Does this make Walker a dishonest politician... that would be another question... a stupid question, but a question, nonetheless.

    Kaukauna, Wisconsin

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  45. karla walters

    NO, he should help them in anyway or he might be hunting a job without union backing, that is why the gop wants to bust unions!!!!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  46. Jeff Garland

    Yes. It's a federal republic and state legislative matters are not in his domain. He needs to focus on the federal budget.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  47. Greg Smith

    If this were simply a local issue and not some contrivance to advance such reactionary ideology, maybe. But in this case, Hell No! He has to be involved for the sake of all Americans.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  48. Tony

    All Democrats need to be oppose the assault on workers rights by Wisconsin governor Scott Walker, right up to the President of the United States. This battle has nothing to do with the budget – the unions have already offered to give Walker every dime in givebacks that he has demanded. No, the real issue here is that Walker and the Republicans want to strip state workers of the right to collective bargaining in an effort to break their unions.

    Let's not be disingenuous here. This isn't about the Wisconsin budget, it's about union busting by Republicans.

    Marco Island, Florida

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  49. Timothy

    Of course he should pay attention to it! The Republicans say it's "budget crisis" but refuse a balanced budget option that doesn't require busting the unions. It's entirely about hitting Democrats in their power base, the working class.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  50. Paula L.

    Hah! Stay out of the Wisconsin budget battle? Apparently, he stayed out of his own budget battle! He could learn a bit about leadership from Governor Walker.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  51. John Rotko

    The President should get his own house in order ( Federal Budget ) before he starts throwing stones at the states.

    He is a good politician but a TERRIBLE Leader / President.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  52. Mark F

    Jack, I'd say if the billionaire Koch brothers agree to stay out of the battle, it would be fair to ask President Obama to stay out of it as well. But let's be clear: this isn't the "state issue" the Republicans claim it is. It's a national, state-by-state assault on workers' rights and on unions. And it's being funded by some very wealthy Republicans who don't give a fat rat's butt about workers or their rights.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  53. Tony

    Yes, President Obama should stay out of Wisconsin issues. But then his Chicago style won't let him, after all he was elected by the public sector union money and tactics!

    By the way, why is he awol on Libya?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  54. al finnell

    Hi Jack,
    Yes, Yes Yes, let him interfere!... Just one note, normal people have to quit one job to do another. Let Obomma do the same!. Quit the white house and join the rabble rousers!. Back to his beginnings. wonderful!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  55. Hank

    He is President of the United States Does that help him with State issues?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  56. Gary

    Jack, its called The American Presidency. The President can intervene where he very well Pleases. The same can be said about a Senator. What state do they belong to?!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  57. Lenny

    This has national ramifications in as it is an attempt to dismantle the Democratic Party. He better get involved !!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  58. John

    the federal government should stay out of state business all together

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  59. Betty Smith Tampa, Fl.

    Absolutly not! This is not a battle of issues regarding budgets, but rather employees right to collective bargining. If Pres. Obama doesn't give them an added voice, they will be left drowned out by the voice of Big Business who is funding this Gov. in Wis. Thank God for their champion Pres. Obama.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  60. Patrick Brumm

    Republicans castigated Obama for not being more active in Cairo but when he talks about one of his own states, this is all of a sudden a local issue that Obama should ignore?

    some people can't be pleased, ever.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  61. nathaniel

    nathaniel euless, Texas

    simple, its no. just because they dont like to make compromise they storm a state house and cause a great uproar because the economy. the public sector should understand that. tough timescome tough decisions.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  62. Howard Flysher

    This has nothing to do with cuts since the unions have gone along with monetary cuts and higher payments. This has to do with breaking the Union. Pres Obama has the right to comment since this is a national issue. they seem to favor one union over the otherie police and firefighters. I guess we have gone back to the 1890s and Gov't and robber barons rule again.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  63. Debbie

    Sure, he should stay out of the Wisconsin battle. What if he took the time to insert himself and follow each state, one by one, as they all work to balance their upside down budgets? Are there not more pressing issues for him and his team to focus on? The Mideast is blowing up, our federal debt and deficits are spiraling almost beyond control, there are no jobs for our workers and prices of commodities are rocketing.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  64. CJT

    Yes – I would like him to concentrate on the FEDERAL government and military pension crisis that no one wants to talk about. Everyone brings up Social Security and Medicare, but God forbid that we talk about the entitlements surrounding elected officials and their appointed good old boys.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  65. Bill

    Yes he should stay out of state business.
    Obama has enough to do at the Federal level.
    Governor Walker is doing what he campaigned to do.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  66. ann

    Absolutely not. Most of what he does hurts America. Strange how quickly he jumped into this when it tooks weeks for him to go to Louisanna during the oil spill. Boy did I waste my vote in 08!!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  67. greg lancaster,tx

    Of course not. The republican battle against unions has nothing to do with deficits. It has everything to do with a Republican desire to kill unions forever. The president must make it known that he does not stand for killing unions. I was shocked when in the mid terms Americans voted republicans partly out of frustration with unemployment so they said. That makes no sense. Republicans are the ones who put you out of work and doing so is their reason for living. Wisconsin you are reaping what you sowed. Is that a word?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  68. Tonie from Oklahoma

    NO, he is the President for everyone. He has every right.

    If they repeal the tax cut we could fix the deficit. 64% of corporations don't pay any taxes and they don't look at the American worker like they use to years ago. Salaries for everyone will be forced down if they get rid of the unions and corporations are running the ccountry without any opposition.

    How about those wars we could handle this by cyber space and drones without the cost. There are better and more efficient ways to cut the budget and not on the backs of the middle class (uinons) and poor. Has this nation really sunk this low?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  69. Ian J

    Jack – Yes, the President should stay out of it. Leave it to Wisconsin to handle. Obama has enough on his plate without a heaping helping of that.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  70. Kate

    President Obama is the president of all citizens in all states. Of course he should comment about the roll back of basic worker rights in Wisconsin. The unions have already signaled a willingness to contribute more to pensions and health insurance.

    It would be more accurate reporting to separate the monetary issues from legislating unions back to the 1900's.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  71. Jon

    I have lived in Wisconsin all my life and I really wish President Obama would take a strong stand for collective bargaining rights. That is what it comes down to. Walker is part of a far right wing movement that is trying to break the unions. They won't stop here. The Koch brothers funded Walker and other governors through the Republican Governors Association. They want cheap labor and if they bust the unions they have killed a major source of Democratic power. This is about saving the middle classs. If unions go down so eventually will wages and working conditions for all. I"m not in a union, but I sure wish Obama would come and join us here and try to save the last major power source for average people, the union.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  72. sean, nj

    As Obama hasn't given the country a single balanced budget yet I think he should keep his advice about how Wisconsin should balance there budget to himself. Something comes to mind about people in glass houses!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  73. Tom Smith

    As President he can comment on any subjects that he chooses to. This is America and we have free speech. If his comments hurt him politically then he will suffer the consequences. Republicans who say he shouldn't comment are really against free speech and thus they expose their true thoughts on free speech.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  74. Jason

    No he shouldnt way in on it. If he was a proven president with policys that have been proven effective he might have some merrit on how to maintain some fiscal responsibilty. Until then he may want to take these governors leads.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  75. Jeff Wilson

    President Obama was correct on both counts. Public employees should make concessions...which they have offered to do. Eliminating collective bargaining is not about budget fixing, it's a ploy to destroy unions and eliminate the non-corporate way to have a sizable voice in elections. For that it is anti-worker.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  76. Bob M, Eastman WI

    Mr Obama should mind his job at the Fed level. He's got a 14T debt thats killing us & has no business meddling with Gov Walkers to get WI back in the black.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  77. Steve Rechel

    President Obama would have stayed out of the Wisconsin's state budget battle if Scott would have agreed to concessions from the teachers unions which would have allowed them to balance his budget,But I am very proud of our President for voicing his concern once he found out that Walker would not budge as far as the union requesting to keep it's collective bargaining power as well as the union status which will protect those teachers with the most seniority if the state should decide to make some layoffs as well as the4 concessions that the teachers union is so willing to make.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  78. Lynn

    Yes, he should at least say something, stand up for vanishing middle class. I am not pro union at all, but anyone can see that this is a power grab, and a scary one. Guess it's oligarchy or bust!!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  79. Frank

    He's still the president of ALL the states, including Wisconsin.


    February 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  80. yvonne

    Absolutely not. But where is he? This is the one person I believed would look out for the working middle-class. This is an agenda people. Wake up america, because its coming to a town near you .

    February 22, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  81. Jack Brownfield

    Since Obama cannot properly manage the federal business , he has no business trying to manage Wisconsin's.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  82. Rick

    The Wisc.battle being waged has no longer any thing to do with pay or benefits for the unions.It is an openly declared war by the republican party on the working people of America to crush the collective bargaining we Americans have fought for in the past 100 years.Giving tax breaks to the top 2% then crushing the 'middle class' to pay for it is not only wrong,but un-American!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  83. Rob

    No Jack,
    Wisconsin is part of the US and if the new Republican,Union busting Gov. thinks this is the way to fix his budget problem, then he should recieve help from the Feds. I bet he and his R – Congress won't take a pay cut,
    I think this idiot should be impeached.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  84. Steve

    Last I heard, Wisconsin was part of the United States. That makes the President of the United States an interested party...are all the people in Wisconsin who support the Governor Walker's proposal ready to sacrifice the same? If they're willing to give up 5-10% of your income, pay more for their own health care and other benefits then they have a right to sound off. Otherwise think of something that is fair to all residents.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  85. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    The budget is Wisconsin's worry, but the manipulation of a democratic right of assembly for workers, then the President and all Americans should be involved in prohibiting this democratic right from being trampled upon for the sake of one man's ignorant views and domination. We must all stand up against this.

    Unions are the only check and balance that remain from going back to an authoritarian, dominating, greedy society as was witnessed in the late 1800's and much of the 1900's. This governor's determination to control the people with only his beliefs proves how much we can recede as a democratic culture.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  86. Glenden Campbell

    As a retired teacher of 40 years somebody with great authority needs to get involved in the Wisconsin problem as well as all other states and their right to collective bargaining. Since Franklin Roosevelt collective bargaring has been a staple of American government

    February 22, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  87. Tepeters. Minnesota

    Absolutely not in fact he should be more vocal. The debt problem is the result of a few controlling most of the wealth through years of tax cuts and breaks. The middle class is under attack, he needs to show political courage and stand up to corporate wealth and a growing class of barons. If he does not history will pass him by. It is time to Tax the Rich; Empower the Middle Class; and Free the Poor. That should be his message.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  88. Kim H., Orlando, FL

    Did Mr. Obama tell the Governor what to do? No, he merely made an obvious observation of what is going on. My question to all Republicans is, you promised that the tax breaks for the rich would create jobs, where are the jobs? Maybe if more people were working, more people would be paying into the system and we wouldn't have the "crisis" the the Republicans keep telling us we have. Maybe the Republicans need to quit giving out tax breaks like candy?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  89. Mark J. Schug

    This President could not be more cynical!! As he's fully aware of the fiscal conditions of almost all of the states...for political purposes only, he attempts, in an underhanded fashion to thwart what the people of Wisconsin clearly want.....

    February 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  90. Donald W. Smith


    President Obama swore, on a Bible, to faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of his ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States not Wisconsin's public employees' union. He is the President of the United States – – – not the union mouthpiece for Wisconsin! I meah duh he sometimes gets the drill. Remember when he wouldn't pick a favorite for the Super Bowl?

    Don Smith
    Fresno, CA
    Retired Army

    February 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  91. Suzanne Husgen

    No,and all Democrats should oppose Republicans in their attempts to bust unions, privatize education, social security, & medicare.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  92. jim hayes

    Obama should stay out of wisconsin budgets--his unions are what causes these budget problems, education problems and government deficits. They also caused most of the problems in the auto industry. The unions don't care if the companies or the governments go out of business.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  93. Ron Kurimsky Sr

    President Obama should stay out of managing the state of Wisconsin until he shows us that he can do his own job in a quality way. And, I believe there is consensus that Americans have yet to see that moment.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  94. L. R. Illinois

    Our President isn't interfering.
    Walker's only object is to get rid of the Unions.
    If Walker was worried about the budget, then he shouldn't have given the millionaires a tax cut. Let them pay up as they can well afford it.
    I say in eight months it will be the time to recall Walker.
    Don't give in to him, keep up the good fight.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  95. Birddog in Mississippi

    I would like to know ONE suggestion made by the GOP about how the wealthy are supposed to share in the sacrifice they want everybody else to make. For thirty years, they have borrowed money and all that borrowed money went to the uber wealthy – nobody in the bottom 95% made an extra dime in income. Now they want the middle class to pay it all back?
    The fight in Wisconsin isn't about the deficit. It is about taking away any power the middle class has. Welcome to the Corporation of America.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  96. Joan from Pittsburgh

    Does it really matter to the average citizen. I think not. This country is about greed, greed, greed and it is not good. The government is definitely for those who are wealthy. We lowered their taxes so they could keep more of the money with the lie that these people will create more jobs. They had tax cuts for many years and we still lost jobs. The overall agenda is to kill the unions and take this country back to the times before unions and pay people 10 cents an hour to work. This is so the wealthy in this nation can have a house in every state and a yacht on every ocean. We are going down the drain!!!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
  97. yvonne

    Absolutely not. But where is he? The one person I believed would stand up for the working class. And nothing. Wake up people. This show is coming to a town near and dear to you. Is your job safe?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  98. r.struve

    Obama already abandoned the issue in WI, in hope of finding sympathetic audiences in OH.
    Obama has chosen to throw stones, while in a glass whitehouse.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  99. Karen King

    The president should voice his opinion and stand up for all union workers after all they helped him become president

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  100. Mi

    I find it rather specious of Sen. Graham to suggest Pres. Obama stay out of Wisconsin politics while he and other Republicans freely make it a national partisan issue. There are two issues here, the rights of unions to collectively bargain and balancing the budget. No one will argue against the latter, but only the union busting Republicans would dare suggest the former as a strategy to accomplish it.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  101. Patty

    Yucca Valley, CA.
    No he shouldn't stay out of the Wisconsin's budget battles! He is our president and has every right to intervene.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  102. brenda

    Just as he should not have inserted himself in the Arizona immigration situation, he should stay in Washington and focus on his budget. Unfortunately, he has already "inserted" himself in the situation, first with the assault comment, and then with allowing OFA to bus in protestors. The people of Wisconsin elected the governor and the legislature to deal with their budget crisis and Governor Walker has proposed changes that will help not only the state budget but also the municipal budgets.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  103. Peggy Dewane

    Jack this is not just about budget concerns. This is really about busting unions.I have taught in WI, NY, & CT and have participated in numerous givebacks and wage freezes. Never have I seen a public official so openly hostile to educators and public service sector workers. Obama is a national leader, Have no illusions this is an attempt to use the current situation to end collective bargaining in the public sector.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  104. Garry from Florida

    Why should he stay away from this issue, Ronnie baby stuck his nose into Union busting tactics when he fired al the air traffic controllers but people still claim he was one of the best presidents this country has ever had. Do you know what this means Jackie Boy LOL

    February 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  105. sueb

    President Obama should "weigh in" but I recognize he has to have a measured response. first it's an end to bargaining in WI, next it's an end to bargaining in other states and the end of Unions all together. now look a little deeper at what is in Walker and the WI republican's bill, cities and counties are going to have to lay off their public workers when they are cut off of state aid, poor people are going to have to ... (i'm not sure what they are going to do) when medicaid benefits are cut off but I do know who will survive – corporations with giant tax cuts and out of state contractors who take over (at a cost and with profit) functions WI government workers previously provided with fair bidding processes and low costs. the future is not looking bright at all – but I guess if people want a one party system ...

    February 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  106. Bill

    The president needs to be involved. These are his supporters,He needs to support them because they put him in the office he holds. The democrats need to act like they are Americans too instead of lackeys for their special interest providers as they appear to be these days.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:33 pm |
  107. Verlow

    Yes, he should. No one seems to be talking about the fact that in all of these contracts, the state governments involved agreed to the negotiated settlement. Sure it would be easier for these State Governments to be able to dictate whatever meets there needs. Yes, let's get rid of democracy. Makes perfect sense REPUBLICANS!,,

    February 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  108. Dr. F. Perham

    If anonomous, big business donors can give huge sums to limit , if not kill, unions and collective bargaining, then YES Obama should get involved. Collective Bargaining is called a right for a reason.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  109. Joanne

    He most certainly should stay out. He undermines Governor Walker's authority and seems to always speak without thinking. One week after Obama says we need to balance the budget he sides against the governor for doing exactly that! The 14 democrats should be fired.

    By the way, where is he when Libya needs him? It is disgusting what is happening there, where is Ronald Regan when you need him?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  110. Kelly

    Are you kidding me? With the budget he handed in he should probably trying balancing a national budget and forget about state budgets. If he doesn't worry about his own budget he'll be responsible for shutting government down. Maybe he should have to pass a balanced budget.
    Kelly from MA

    February 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
  111. Buddy from Illinois


    No, the President should not stay out of the Wisconsin budget battle because its isn't a budget battle, its about electoral politics. If Governor Walker really thought restricting public employee unions' collective bargaining rights would solve the deficit in Wisconsin's budget, then he would have included the unions with the highest costs for pensions, namely the police and firefighters unions.

    I'm pretty sure their absence from the bill has something to do with the fact that police and firefighter unions supported Mr. Walker's run for governor while those subject to the legislation did not. That is not a budget battle, its electoral politics, plain and simple.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  112. Michael Columbus, OH

    As President it is his job to maintain domestic peace and enforce law. Any large protest should draw immediate attention. Particularly, those demonstrations that are effecting public services and impacting people not involved in the dispute. The President should also be mediating this dispute and investigating any outside instigation of this strange political move against organized labor.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  113. George Childs

    Mr.Obama should stay out of the discussion in Ohio and Wisconsin. In my opinion, as long as the union leaders know that they can get to Obama and lobby for their cause, they will use that leverage to inject Mr. Obama into the battle. The campaign funds that he received from the labor unions and their extensions, must not be considered buying his influence in any legislation on the local, state or federal level.

    These are local issues to each state and are not being debated in Congress. Therefore, the president should stay out of it.

    The main reason that he would step in is the future 2012 actions of the union members votes.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  114. sally McMahon

    This battle is not about the budget, it is not about collective bargaining, it is about money. It about who financially supports who. Where does the Unions political donations go to Jack?

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  115. Sean in Michigan

    If this was really about the budget and not union-busting, then the bill would not require a yearly vote for unions to remain certified after gutting them of any ability to be effective.
    Obama said it like it is, and the union-busters are rankled because they've been called out. Good for him!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  116. Dariel

    In California, we have elected officials that want to make government entities disclose pension, wage and benefits for city, county and state employees. At this time, many have not complied under the Freedom of Information Act.

    What we found out in Sonoma County for the ones that have revealed, at least some of the benefits, is that we have many police and fire department employee's (not counting administration land management) make in excess of $100,000.00 a year and can retire at age 50 with 90% of their wages with full benefits. Add this with unused sick leave (sometimes 6 months) and accumulated vacation.

    We Can't afford them anymore. The National Guard works a whole lot cheaper and they do a pretty good job.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  117. Sally in Texas

    The starting salary of teachers in Wisconsin is $25, 222. They must have a BA – which at UW costs $88K and four years without full time work or increasing their own SS. This isn't about deficits. It is about pitting the middle class against each other to distract from the fact that someone like Carly Fiorina makes $42 million in severance pay for doing a crappy job.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  118. sueb

    ps – by the way, I'm a non-represented WI Public Employee

    February 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm |
  119. Betty

    The President should not tell Wisconsin how to handle the budget. He needs to clean up the Federal budget first, before he can tell Wisconsin how to handle their budget. The Federal government should be ashamed of themselves for putting the US in such a huge deficit.

    Amherts, WI

    February 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  120. Sandra Murphy

    I think Obama should adamantly speak up for the Unions.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm |
  121. James

    President Obama should stay out of all the individual State's affairs, especially after seeing what he has done to the Federal Government. In addition, a sitting President of the United States should also remain in Washington attending to Presidential duties during mid-term elections instead of out running all around the Country AT TAXPAYERS EXPENSE, campaigning for [his] political cronies.
    The 2010 election year was NOT A PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! If you add up the taxpayer’s cost of the President, Vice President and Michelle Obama campaigning in this past mid-term election, it cost taxpayers millions of dollars, notwithstanding the fact that, in essence, some taxpayers were paying the campaign expenses for their opposition. But yet the President complained and objected to Corporate campaign spending. I really do question the integrity of this man on many fronts.

    February 22, 2011 at 6:37 pm |