The meeting between Obama and the Democratic governors spawned discussions about whether the meeting was to develop strategy and talking points about topics such as public employee compensation, benefits and bargaining rights, but White House and other Democrats denied it, The Washington Post reported.
"We were focused today on the things we can do together to create jobs," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said. "We didn't talk about whatever it is they're doing in Wisconsin," where protesters marched on the Capitol to express their dismay over Gov. Scott Walker's plan that would, among other things, end most public employees' collective bargaining rights.
O'Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, said the meeting with Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was a chance to discuss advice from business leaders in their states.
The governors' organization was in Washington for Saturday's opening of its annual winter meeting.
Obama will host the governors Sunday night for a black-tie dinner and will meet with them again Monday, the Post said.
During a session sponsored by Politico, O'Malley said Walker's bill and his refusal to budge from his position could be a recipe for failure and ill will, the Post said.
"When you're facing tough challenges ... I think it's best to bring people to do that," he said. "When you try to vilify, make one side of the equation the enemy, I think you're asking for trouble."
But Texas Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, defended the Wisconsin governor.
"For me to tell (O'Malley) how to run his state or for him to tell me how to run my state is a little bit over the line," Perry said. "The key is, you believe what you believe in. We had elections."
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