Monday, Feb. 7, President Obama “will cross Lafayette Park from the White House to the headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, his longtime political nemesis,” the Wall Street Journal reported. In an open letter to the president , longtime consumer advocate and many time presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, asked, “What about walking next door and visiting your political friends at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO whose member unions represent millions of working Americans?”
The Washington Post noted: “The White House’s campaign to rebuild ties with corporate America gets the ultimate photo opportunity Monday when President Obama crosses Lafayette Park and steps into the imposing headquarters of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The gesture may surprise Americans who recall that Obama, just four months ago, said the group may have used foreign money to air ads attacking Democrats, or that a senior aide called the Chamber’s political tactics a ‘threat to our democracy.’ And the applause certain to fill the ornate Hall of Flags inside the Chamber building might seem jarring given the tens of millions of dollars the group spent to fight Obama’s signature health-care overhaul and deliver the House majority to the Republicans.”
In his office in Northwest D.C., Nader said, “Can you imagine? Here’s a president who was given huge support by the AFL-CIO in the 2008 election, bringing out votes, making contributions to his committees. And in return, he promised that he would raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011 and push congress to pass the card check, which would make it easier for employees of large employers like Walmart to organize themselves into a union. And what does he do? On Feb. 7th, he pays homage, across the street from the White House, to his worst enemies, who have been trying to destroy his administration and put Republicans in congress, that is the Chamber of Commerce. He’s going over to meet with them, but not right around the corner, literally only a few yards, to the headquarters of the AFL-CIO, which represents, through its member unions, almost 13 million workers. Does this make sense? He pays homage to his enemies and he turns his back on his supporters?
“Unfortunately, that’s been a trademark of the Obama regime. They look forward to curtseying before their opponents, bringing to the White House people like the CEO of Pfizer (five times), the CEO of Aetna (six times), but not inviting the heads of the single-payer health insurance movement once. There’s something about a character of a president who turns his back on his supporters and curtseys in front of his opponents.”
Feb. 7 at 11 AM, at the H Street side of Lafayette Park (16th and H St, NW), nurses from National Nurses United/California Nurses Association and labor supporters will protest that President Obama is not walking two blocks from the White House to the house of labor, but is instead visiting the Chamber of Commerce.
Nader urged people to call the White House switchboard (202 456 1414) to tell the president, “At the same time you visit the Chamber of Commerce, the logistics are very simple, Mr. President, go around and meet with Mr. Trumka and his colleagues at… the AFL-CIO.”
Nader concluded with this message to the president: “After Tucson’s tragedy, you wanted to be ecumenical and you wanted to end-gather opposing groups. There’s no better way to do that than to visit both of those institutions on Feb. 7th.”