Shortly before President Barack Obama spoke to the labor unions in Detroit, Jimmy Hoffa Jr. warmed up the audience and harshly attacked the Tea Party movement saying: (emphasis is mine)
“We got to keep an eye on the battle that we face: The war on workers. And you see it everywhere, it is the Tea Party. And you know, there is only one way to beat and win that war. The one thing about working people is we like a good fight. And you know what? They’ve got a war, they got a war with us and there’s only going to be one winner. It’s going to be the workers of Michigan, and America. We’re going to win that war,” Jimmy Hoffa Jr. said said
“President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these son of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong,” Hoffa then added.
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Condemnation for Mr. Hoffa’s statements will not be coming anytime soon from the White House. In fact, President Obama immediately praised Mr. Hoffa, in the beginning of his remarks saying he was “proud” of the teamster president: (bolding is mine)
The president of the Metropolitan Detroit Central Labor Council, our host, Saundra Williams. (Applause.) AFL-CIO president, Rich Trumka. (Applause.) President of the Michigan AFL-CIO, Mark Gaffney. (Applause.) And some proud sons and daughters of Michigan representing working people here and across the country — SEIU President Mary Kay Henry, Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa, UAW President Bob King, Utility Workers President Mike Langford. (Applause.) We are proud of them and we’re proud of your congressional delegation who are working every single day with your state and local elected officials to create jobs and economic growth and prosperity here in Michigan and all across the country.
President Obama’s “proud” embrace of Mr. Hoffa’s remarks are a far cry from the president’s call for civility following the shooting in Tuscon earlier this year. Instead, Mr. Obama further to supplement Mr. Hoffa’s prior remarks: (bolding is mine)
But we’re not going to wait for them. (Applause.) We’re going to see if we’ve got some straight shooters in Congress. We’re going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party. (Applause.) We’ll give them a plan, and then we’ll say, do you want to create jobs? Then put our construction workers back to work rebuilding America. (Applause.) Do you want to help our companies succeed? Open up new markets for them to sell their products. You want — you say you’re the party of tax cuts? Well then, prove you’ll fight just as hard for tax cuts for middle-class families as you do for oil companies and the most affluent Americans. (Applause.) Show us what you got. (Applause.)
The time for Washington games is over. (Applause.) The time for action is now. No more manufactured crises. No more games. Now is not the time for the people you sent to Washington to worry about their jobs; now is the time for them to worry about your jobs. (Applause.)
Now, let me say a word about labor in particular. Now, I know this is not going to be an easy time. I know it’s not easy when there’s some folks who have their sights trained on you. After all that unions have done to build and protect the middle class, you’ve got people trying to claim that you’re responsible for the problems middle-class folks are facing.
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: You’ve got Republicans saying you’re the ones exploiting working families. Imagine that.
Now, the fact is, our economy is stronger when workers are getting paid good wages and good benefits. (Applause.) Our economy is stronger when we’ve got broad-based growth and broad-based prosperity. That’s what unions have always been about — shared prosperity.
You know, I was on the plane flying over here, and Carl Levin was with me, and he showed me a speech that Harry Truman had given on Labor Day 63 years ago, right here in Detroit — 63 years ago. And just to show that things haven’t changed much, he talked about how Americans had voted in some folks into Congress who weren’t very friendly to labor. And he pointed out that some working folks and even some union members voted these folks in. And now they were learning their lesson. And he pointed out that — and I’m quoting here — “the gains of labor were not accomplished at the expense of the rest of the nation. Labor’s gains contributed to the nation’s general prosperity.” (Applause.)
What was true back in 1948 is true in 2011. When working families are doing well, when they’re getting a decent wage and they’re getting decent benefits, that means they’re good customers for businesses. (Applause.) That means they can buy the cars that you build. (Applause.) That means that you can buy the food from the farmers. That means you can buy from Silicon Valley. You are creating prosperity when you share in prosperity. (Applause.)
So when I hear some of these folks trying to take collective bargaining rights away, trying to pass so-called “right to work” laws for private sector workers —
AUDIENCE: Booo —
THE PRESIDENT: — that really mean the right to work for less and less and less — when I hear some of this talk I know this is not about economics. This is about politics.
And I want everybody here to know, as long as I’m in the White House I’m going to stand up for collective bargaining. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
New tone? I don’t think so.