President Barack Obama compared the economies of Minnesota and Wisconsin, and the growing field of Republican presidential candidates to a popular movie, during a stop in La Crosse on Thursday. The president was at UW La Crosse to highlight a plan from his administration that would make more salaried workers eligible for overtime pay.
Obama, who was greeted at the airport by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, made a pointed reference to the state’s economic performance, comparing it unfavorably to that of Minnesota. “They asked the top two percent to pay a little bit more,” Obama said. “They invested in things that help everybody succeed, like all-day kindergarten and financial aid for college students. They took action to raise their minimum wage, they passed an equal pay law. They protected workers’ rights, they expanded Medicaid to cover more people.”
Walker took to the internet for some messaging prior to president’s arrival. “Our fortunes have improved in spite of – not because of – the president’s big government policies,” he said on the Real Clear Politics web site. Walker also tweeted “I hope @BarackObama will listen.”
Obama’s La Crosse trip coincided with reports that Walker would finally make his presidential ambitions final later this month. Obama commented on the burgeoning field of GOP presidential aspirants. “We’ve got some healthy competition in the Democratic party, but I’ve lost count of how many Republicans are running for this job. They’ll have enough for an actual ‘Hunger Games,'” he said, adding that the Republicans are “an interesting bunch.”
Obama said a new policy from the Labor Department would benefit salaried employees, some of whom he claimed are being taken advantage of. “In extreme cases its possible for workers to actually earn less than the minimum wage,” he said.