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Wisconsin recall: Obama hopes Barrett ‘prevails’

Olivier Knox, Yahoo News
The Ticket

President Barack Obama hopes Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, "prevails" in the state's closely watched recall election, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

Carney was repeatedly asked why Obama, who has been criss-crossing the country to raise money for his reelection bid, did not do more to help Barrett.

"The president endorsed Tom Barrett right after he won the primary. The president supports him, stands by him," Carney said. "The president absolutely stands by Tom Barrett and hopes he prevails."

"The fact is the president has made clear all along his opposition to those who would take away workers' rights, to actions that would take away or diminish workers' rights, and he's also made clear his support for Tom Barrett," the spokesman said.

The phrase "stands by" might not be such a bad way to describe Obama's support for Barrett. The president hasn't exactly poured it on for Walker's challenger. In fact, he has mostly steered clear of the fight.

An Obama campaign official, asked by Yahoo News to detail any last-minute efforts on Barrett's behalf, said that the Democratic National Committee and Obama for America "have been engaged in support of this effort and continue to work hand-in-hand with the Barrett campaign and the state party in the closing days of this contest."

"The goal is to turn out voters and utilize both the substantial network of activists, volunteers and supporters, and the extensive resources to assist in building a strong ground game," the official said on the condition of anonymity.

But a list of ways in which Obama personally helped Barrett included exactly one item: the president's endorsement on the night of Barrett's primary victory.The DNC has directed $1.4 million to Wisconsin in the 2012 cycle, with $800,000 flowing there since November. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz hosted a fundraiser for Barrett and sent out an appeal for money for his campaign to Democratic activists nationwide.  Democratic Governors Association Chair Martin O'Malley and former President Bill Clinton have stumped in Wisconsin on Barrett's behalf.

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