One-on-One: President Obama on Wisconsin Politics - WBAY

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One-on-One: President Obama on Wisconsin Politics


Matt Smith of Action 2 News had a one-on-one interview with President Obama at the White House on Monday, focusing in part on the recent, contentious recall election here in the Badger State.

A very limited number of local television stations around the U.S. were invited to visit the White House Monday -- Action 2 News was the only media outlet from Wisconsin -- as the Obama Administration announced $2 billion in new investments targeting rural small businesses.

Besides a tour and time to speak with top administration officials, we were also given the chance to interview President Obama one-on-one, where discussion quickly turned to politics in Wisconsin.

The big question being asked nationally is, what, if any, are the implications coming from the outcome of that recall effort?

Smith: I'd like to ask you about Wisconsin's recall election. There are a lot of Democrats that are upset you didn't campaign for Tom Barrett.

President Obama: The truth of the matter is that as POTUS, I've got a lot of responsibilities. I was supportive of Tom and have been supportive of Tom. Obviously, I would have loved to see a different result. But the broader principle is that we want an economy that is not focused on a few at the top but is a broad-based economy that invests in our future, that makes sure we've got a strong education system that is thinking about workers and their ability to pay their bills, is something in everything I do. Shows those are values I care about deeply. And we're going to be fighting very hard in Wisconsin, just like we have in the past, to make sure that's the kind of government people get.

Smith: Do the results, when you think policy-wise, have broader implications going beyond Wisconsin going into the election?

President Obama: I don't think so. I think probably you've got specific circumstances in Wisconsin. Keep in mind, it is a bit unusual when a governor gets this much attention in the middle of his term. My suspicion is all across this country, governors who are dealing with tough budgets have to make tough decisions. But one of the lessons learned is that it is better to make them with people than against people. My goal, if we can bring parties together, there are ways we can manage through tough fiscal decision whether at the federal or state level. But everybody's a part of it, everyone is doing their fair share and nobody's bearing the entire burden of sacrifice. I think that's what the American people are looking for: Balanced approaches that take everyone into account.

Republicans, including Mitt Romney, will argue Wisconsin signals big-time trouble for the president. Governor Romney has mentioned it on several campaign stops.

Our exit polling the day of the election gave President Obama a seven-point lead over Mitt Romney, although Obama won the state over John McCain by 14 points back in 2008.

Many experts say the president is coming off a tough week, being criticized for saying the private sector is "doing fine." The president's press secretary was asked about that again Monday as the administration tries to shift the attention to new jobs initiatives.

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