After the White House was peppered with questions about President Obama’s distance from Wisconsin’s election to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, Mr. Obama tweeted his support for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in between star-studded fundraisers in Manhattan Monday night:
“It’s Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I’m standing by Tom Barrett. He’d make an outstanding governor. -bo.”
The president has resisted Democratic entreaties to campaign on behalf of Mr. Barrett in an election where Mr. Walker holds a slight lead and one that many political observers view as harbinger for the presidential election. It may have been a lesson learned the hard way after Mr. Obama waded into the losing Democratic Senate campaign of Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate to replace the late Sen. Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts in 2010, fueling stories that his support wasn’t powerful enough to help Ms. Coakley over the finish line.
If Mr. Barrett feels slighted by the president’s marked absence, he’s not admitting it.
He told CNN’s Starting Point on Tuesday that he feels ignored by the president “not one bit.”
“It started out as a grassroots movement,” he said. “It will end as a grassroots movement, as it should be,” he said.
But all the talk of the Wisconsin recall serving as a dry run for the presidential contest has Mr. Barrett feeling a bit testy.
“That’s part of my grip about this. I don’t want Wisconsin to be an experimental dish for the right wing,” he said. “I want this to be all about Wisconsin families, about Wisconsin jobs, about the future.”
The White House on Monday denied that Mr. Obama’s absence in the state meant he was trying to avoid linking himself to the election outcome.
“I’ve just made clear that the president stands by the Democratic candidate and he has done so since the primary, and for other efforts to support Mr. Barrett’s candidacy — I would refer [you] to the campaign,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.