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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A little to late for that I think Mr. President

White House officials make nice with labor

In a private meeting currently under way with labor leaders, top White House officials are working hard to smooth over tensions in the wake of an anonymous administration official's claim that unions had flushed $10 million down the toilet in Arkansas, and are stressing that they respect labor's decision, sources say.
The private make-up session is directly at odds with the tough tone the White House official struck in the wake of the primary, and is also at odds with Robert Gibbs' subsequent quasi-endorsement of the sentiment. In the meeting, a White House official asked labor to put the anonymous comment behind them, a source at the meeting says.
Representing the White House at the meeting, which is currently underway at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, are top advisers Patrick Gaspard and Jen O'Malley. On the labor side are AFL-CIO's political directors.
Here's what's going down as we speak, according to a source who is present. Labor officials pointedly told the White House reps that they stood by their effort in Arkansas and were proud of it, and that they would continue making endorsement decisions not according to the letter next to the incumbent's name, but solely on who was better for their members.
In response, Gaspard, the White House official with perhaps the deepest roots in labor, assured those present that he understood that unions should remain independent. He asked the labor officials not to let one comment foul up relations between labor and the White House.
Gaspard also assured those assembled that he understood that labor's first responsibility is to their members.
So it looks like the White House does regret dumping on labor after all, and does understand that the judicious move here is to walk back the criticism and insults, if only in private. More as I learn it. LinkHere


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