Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union that represents more than 150,000 federal employees, joined the fight against Rush Limbaugh this morning, criticizing the radio talk show host for his recent comments on President Obama.
“Rush Limbaugh had the audacity to announce on national radio, ‘I hope he fails.’ Imagine anyone saying that. If he fails, our country fails. That is unacceptable,” she said during opening remarks at the union’s annual legislative conference.
NTEU spokeswoman Dina Long stressed that Kelley’s comments were hers alone and that the union has many Democratic and Republican members. But Kelley’s comments come as the Democratic Party and liberal groups partially funded by labor unions ramp up a “Republicans equal Limbaugh” campaign through radio and television commercials.
Kelley, who has served as NTEU national president since 1999, also expressed an eagerness to work with President Obama following eight years of difficulties with the Bush administration.
“I am sure that President Bush is not enjoying his retirement in Crawford, Texas nearly as much as we are enjoying it,” Kelley said to cheers. She recounted her recent visit to the White House, where she joined other labor union leaders at a meeting with Obama.
“That was just ten days after Inauguration Day. Just ten days. Contrast that with the Bush administration: In the eight years that George W. Bush was in office, I was never ever invited to meet with the president. Ever. We represent 150,000 frontline federal employees in 31 agencies and not once in eight years was there anything that he…valued federal employees input on,” she said.
Kelley outlined the union’s 2009 plans, acknowledging that the nation’s economic situation and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan take priority. “Federal employees matter because we do the work of the country. We are positioned to rescue our country and to restore the public’s faith,” she said.