President Obama and Republican governors haven’t always had the warmest relationships, especially on airport tarmacs. There was his run-in last month with Arizona’s Jan Brewer, and another in 2010 with Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.
Which makes it curious that Obama, who embarks on a three-day trip to three states Wednesday, will be greeted at the airport in Milwaukee on the first stop by embattled Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R).
A spokesman for Walker confirmed that he will meet Obama and accompany the president for a tour of a Master Lock factory.
Walker, who was a featured speaker at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, makes an odd partner for the president, considering they’ve been at odds over Walker’s move last year to end most collective bargaining rights for public employees.
Obama last year called the move an “assault on unions.” Walker, who is the target of a recall effort that is likely to put him on the ballot to defend his seat this fall, responded with a few digs at Obama during his CPAC speech.
Walker recalled being asked about Obama’s criticisms at a news conference and responding that the president “must know that the vast majority of federal employees do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits.”
Furthermore, Walker continued, Obama “must know that the average federal employee pays 28% for their health insurance premium which is double what I’m asking for from state and local government employees in Wisconsin. Because I’m sure the president of the United States is not getting his talking points from the big government union bosses in Washington.”
After his visit to Master Lock, Obama will head to California and Seattle for seven campaign fund-raising events and a tour of a Boeing factory, before returning to Washington on Friday.