One-on-One: Wisconsin's Influence in Washington Politics - WBAY

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One-on-One: Wisconsin's Influence in Washington Politics

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Matt Smith of Action 2 News talked with the president Monday, discussing everything from the state of the economy to Wisconsin's recent recall election.

Only a handful of local TV stations from across the country were invited to the White House Monday, and Action 2 News was one of them, and the only one from Wisconsin.

Nearly a week after Wisconsin's historic recall election, the sense here is the Obama team is watching Wisconsin a bit closer.

The big question is, when it comes to policy and money, how much of an influence will Wisconsin be?

For the first time, in our interview Monday in the Cabinet room of the West Wing, President Obama addressed the recall and Wisconsin.

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 President of the United States, 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.

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.

As in Wisconsin, the debate nationally turns to jobs as the administration tries focusing on job initiatives instead of disappointing jobs reports.

Smith: Given the recent jobs reports, why should Wisconsinites believe any proposal coming from the administration?

President Obama: The truth of the matter is that we've seen significant progress in manufacturing, for example. There are a whole bunch of auto plants that wouldn't be open if we had not intervened and workers and management hadn't gotten together to revitalize the auto industry. The last time I was in Wisconsin, I was in Milwaukee at Master Lock that's starting to bring back jobs from overseas.

It's a campaign issue that is already taking center stage from the White House to Wisconsin.

President Obama: 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.

Our exit polling after the recall election gave the president a seven-point lead over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Remember, though, then-Senator Obama won this state against Senator John McCain by 14 points in 2008 -- something no one here really believes can be repeated.

NEARLY A WEEK AFTER WISCONSIN'S HISTORIC RECALL ELECTION - THE SENSE HERE IS THE OBAMA TEAM IS WATCHING WISCONSIN A BIT CLOSER…

     THE BIG QUESTION - WHEN IT COMES TO POLICY AND MONEY - IS HOW MUCH OF AN INFLUENCE WILL WISCONSIN BE?

     FOR THE FIRST TIME IN OUR INTERVIEW MONDAY IN THE CABINET ROOM OF THE WEST WING - PRESIDENT OBAMA ADDRESSES THE RECALL AND WISCONSIN.

     (1) Matt: "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.

     (2) Matt: "Do the results when you think policy-wise have broader implications going beyond WI going into the election?

     President Obama: "I don't think so. I think probably you've got specific circumstances in WI. 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.

     AS IN WISCONSIN - THE DEBATE NATIONALLY TURNS TO JOBS - AS THE ADMINISTRATION TRIES FOCUSING ON JOB INITIATIVES INSATED OF BAD JOBS REPORTS.

     Given the recent jobs reports, why should Wisconsinites believe any proposal coming from the Administration?

     President Obama: "The truth of the matter is that we've seen significant progress in manufacturing for example. There are a whole bunch of auto plants that wouldn't be open if we had not intervened and workers and management hadn't gotten together to revitalize the auto industry. The last time I was in Wisconsin, I was in Milwaukee at Master Lock that's starting to bring back jobs from overseas.

     A CAMPAIGN ISSUE - THAT IS ALREADY TAKING CENTER STAGE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE TO WISCONSIN.

     And we're gonna be fighting very hard in WI, just like we have in the past to make sure that's the kind of government people get.

     OUR EXIT POLLING AFTER THE RECALL GAVE THE PRESIDENT A SEVEN POINT LEAD OVER MITT ROMNEY….
REMEMBER, THOUGH, THE PRESIDENT WON THIS STATE BY 14 POINTS IN 2008….SOMETHING NO ONE HERE REALLY BELIEVES CAN BE REPEATED.
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