From the White House press briefing, 2/24/10
Q On the Wisconsin -- I'm sorry, on the Wisconsin situation, Congressman Ellison and others have called for the President to come out to Wisconsin and stand with the workers. Is that under discussion?
MR. CARNEY: Not that I'm aware of, Chip. I think what we have made pretty clear is that the President thinks and we think, he's stated this, that obviously a lot of states in the union are dealing with fiscal issues, big problems in their state budgets that need to be addressed. And they need to act responsibly, tighten their belts, live within their means, just as we in Washington, the executive branch and Congress need to do with our federal situation.
Q And forgive me --
MR. CARNEY: But again, he believes very strongly that the way to achieve that, just like the way to achieve it here, is that people need to come to the table, work together, share the sacrifice, and produce the result that the people in the states want and, again, extrapolating to the larger picture here, the whole country -- do the things that we need to do to live within our means so that we can invest in the future, and I think that's true on a state level.
Q And forgive me if I'm being redundant, I missed much of yesterday's briefing. But you've been asked about what he said about joining the picket lines back in 2007 when he said, "If American workers are being denied their right to organize when I'm in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes and I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States." Is he ready to put on a comfortable pair of shoes and fulfill that promise?
MR. CARNEY: I think, Chip, that the President, as President, has a -- obviously an ability to be heard when he speaks, and he spoke to the situation in Wisconsin and his views on it last week. And I'll leave it at that.
Q And I know you weren't with him at the time, but do you think he meant that when he said it? Is that a promise?
MR. CARNEY: I wasn't with him at the time, but again, I think that the President has different means of speaking out on issues and being heard, and clearly he did -- he made his viewpoints known on the situation in Wisconsin, the need for people to come together. He takes very seriously the fiscal situation that the states find themselves in -- some of the states -- and understands it because he understands it at the federal level. But he encourages the parties involved to come together and sacrifice together and reach a solution that serves the interests of all the people of the states, just like he's trying to do for the broader nation.