Boehner To Obama: Keep Your 'Friends' Out Of Wisconsin : It's All Politics Speaker John Boehner accused the president and the grassroots political organization that grew out of Obama's 2008 campaign, Organizing For America, of inciting protests. Boehner said the goal was to stop Republican governors from making needed reforms to cur their budget deficits.
NPR logo Boehner To Obama: Keep Your 'Friends' Out Of Wisconsin

Boehner To Obama: Keep Your 'Friends' Out Of Wisconsin

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Feb. 17, 2011. Alex Brandon/ASSOCIATED PRESS hide caption

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House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Feb. 17, 2011.


Responding to the efforts of Democrats in the nation's capital and elsewhere, including President Obama, to rally around their embattled fellow Wisconsin Democrats, House Speaker John Boehner called on the president Friday to stay out of the Badger State.

Boehner accused Obama and his political organization, Organizing For America, of trying to undermine efforts of Republican governors to cut their budgets by "inciting" protests around the nation. (NPR's All Things Considered carried a report on Friday's action in Madison, Wisconsin, the state capital.)

The speaker likened the protests to those in Greece after the government there imposed strict austerity measures after that nation's inability to easily refinance its huge debt last year caused a crisis. (This followed by a day fellow Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsinite, chair of the House Budget Committee, likening the protests in Madison — he called them "riots" — to Cairo's.)

An excerpt from Boehner's statement:

"The President of the United States has a unique opportunity and responsibility to lead this nation. President Obama has acknowledged the challenges we face, but – thus far – he has done nothing to offer solutions. Now, worse, his political organization is colluding with special-interest allies across the country to demagogue reform-minded governors who are making the tough choices that the President is avoiding.

"This is not the way to begin an 'adult conversation' about solutions to the big challenges facing our country. Rather than inciting protests against those who speak honestly about the challenges we face, the President and his advisers should lead.

"When the American people watched the people of Greece take to the streets to protest cuts to unsustainable government programs, they worried it might foreshadow events in our nation's distant future – but today, we see the same sort of protests on the streets of Madison, fueled by President Obama's own political machine.

"Rather than trying to 'win the future,' the President's political allies are trying, desperately, to cling to a failed past by fighting reforms our nation needs to liberate our economy from the shackles of debt and create a better future for our children and grandchildren. The President should make it clear to his friends that the people of Wisconsin, and states across America, can handle their own affairs without Washington special-interest money and meddling.