Video seizes on union leader's boast of daily contact with White House

A pro-business group on Wednesday seized on AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's boast that he meets at the White House several times a week and talks with someone from the White House "every day."

Amid a push by conservatives to depict President Obama as being especially cozy with organized labor, a group produced a new video featuring the labor leader talking about frequent contact between himself and the administration.

"I'm at the White House a couple times a week — two or three times a week," Trumka boasts in a new video posted by the Workforce Fairness Institute, a foe of organized labor.

"I have conversations every day with someone in the White House or the administration. Every day," he adds. "And that includes weekends, by the way."

He initially made the remark at a Feb. 18 forum. Trumka's claim came as a major conservative political group launched a new ad attacking Obama on his ties to unions.

Crossroads GPS, a political spending group formed by former Bush advisers Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, went on-air with a new, $750,000 ad buy to air over the next week on national cable networks.

"Tell President Obama you've had enough," the 60-second ad says. "Call on him to support government union reform."

Republicans have ramped up their pressure on organized labor in recent days amid a standoff in Wisconsin over collective bargaining rights that's pitted the state's Republican governor against Democrats and pro-labor forces.

GOP leaders have expressed support for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, and other Republicans have pushed forward with other ways to rein in labor. A group of GOP senators, for instance, introduced a national "Right to Work" act on Tuesday.

Organized labor has typically been one of the largest outside groups to spend and mobilize voters on behalf of Democrats, particularly in 2008 to elect Obama and a Democratic-controlled House and Senate.

Labor's relationship with the White House had ostensibly chilled to a degree during Obama's first two years in office, when the president didn't go for as large of a stimulus as unions had wanted and had agreed to exclude the public option from healthcare reform legislation.

But labor leaders have also now expressed satisfaction with Obama's leadership on the dispute in Wisconsin, which his administration has approached more behind the scenes than in the open.

Trumka's last highest-level meeting came on Feb. 24, when he and the presidents of AFL-CIO organizations met with Vice President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis at the White House.

A cursory glance at the latest White House visitors' logs features Trumka's name 53 times.