Obama rips Walker for ‘right to work’ bill

President Obama took a shot at a "right to work" bill signed into law Monday by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a likely Republican candidate for president.  

In a statement, which does not mention Walker by name, Obama said the "anti-worker law in Wisconsin will weaken, rather than strengthen workers in the new economy." 

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"Even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I’d encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans — by taking meaningful action to raise their wages and offer them the security of paid leave," Obama said.  

Walker, who has made his name during a high-profile conflict with public-employee unions in 2011, scored another victory over labor unions on Monday. The legislation he signed limits unions' power by barring them from collecting dues without a worker's permission. 

Walker defended the "right to work" law, saying the measure gives workers a choice whether to join a union and could make Wisconsin a more attractive place to employers.

"On the heels of vetoing Keystone Pipeline legislation, which would have paved the way to create thousands of quality, middle-class jobs, the president should be looking to states, like Wisconsin, as an example for how to grow our economy," Walker said in a statement Tuesday.

While Obama expressed opposition to the Walker's legislation, his decision to single out the Wisconsin governor could elevate Walker's profile among Republican primary voters, as he moves closer to a presidential bid.  

Fifty-three percent of GOP primary voters said they could see themselves supporting Walker, while 17 percent said they could not, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the best margin among any potential Republican candidate. Twenty-seven percent said they do not know Walker's name.

— This report was updated on March 10 at 10:40 a.m.