White House responds to removal of Occupy protesters in New York
En Route to Canberra, Australia, the White House weighed in on the Occupy Wall Street movement, which has taken somewhat of a troublesome turn in recent days.
How to handle the Occupy movement has been a tricky issue for Democrats and the GOP presidential field, which has tried to embrace the populist sentiment, while still maintaining some distance. (An Occupy Wall Street protester showed up at a Mitt Romney townhall meeting in Columbia, S.C., and was thrown out).
For his part, President Obama sought middle ground as well, saying in a speech last month at the dedication of the Martin Luther King Memorial: “If [King] were alive today, I believe he would remind us that the unemployed worker can rightly challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing all who work there.”
From the pool report on Obama’s trip to Australia:
Q: On another domestic matter, does the president have any reaction to the way the Occupy Wall Street protesters were removed, how that was handled?
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: He’s aware of it, obviously, from the reports. And our position and the president’s position is that obviously every municipality has to make its own decisions about how to handle these issues, and we would hope and want, as these decisions are made, that it balances between a long tradition of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in this country and obviously of demonstrating and protesting, and also the very important need to maintain law and order and health and safety standards, which was obviously a concern in this case.