Obama's political machine has reportedly been working with union officials to organize protesters in Madison, where thousands have flooded the state Capitol this week in protest of a union-busting budget proposal.
Walker, the new Tea Party-backed Republican governor of Wisconsin, has proposed
legislation that would cut back benefits for public workers, and has threatened to call out the Wisconsin National Guard on any public employees who go on strike. He's already sicked state troopers on Democratic Senators who fled the state to avoid voting on the bill.
Here's the president:
"Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama said. "I think everybody's got to make some adjustments, but I think it's also important to recognize that public employees make enormous contributions to our states and our citizens."
This is all happening in Madison--once a hub of anti-Vietnam War sentiment and the birthplace of the first nationalized union to represent public employees. But Walker says that Wisconsin--like many other states--is going broke and he doesn't have a choice. The state faces a $2.9 billion budget deficit for 2012 and 2013.