'Top Line' -- Firing Up Big Labor In The Midwest

ABC News’ Rick Klein: As Republican governors seek to rein in organized labor as part of efforts to address budget crises, they’re sparking intense backlashes in the states, as organized labor rallies to preserve rights and benefits for unionized workers.

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, told us that the battles in states including Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa could wind up benefiting President Obama politically, particularly since the battles are being waged in critical presidential battleground states.

“He's somehow got to show that he's with the workers, that he's with people who are concerned about their jobs,” Frost told us. “And what Republicans have done is give him a golden opportunity to show them that he is on the side of the working men and women. The labor movement had been kind of on the sidelines until recently. Now he may be able to motivate his base. This may actually long-term help him in the election” in 2012.

The fights could serve to remind voters of the importance of labor unions, Frost said.

“I think it very clearly shows what’s at stake. I think it shows the Democrats are willing to fight. Even if they ultimately lose on this battle, it’s very important for the party faithful to see that -- to see members of their party standing up for them, making a fight,” he said.

“Motivating labor is something that the Republicans may have made a mistake on, because if labor gets fired up in the 2012 election, Obama will carry those Midwestern states that he needs to win.”

Frost also said that Republicans in Congress are “playing with dynamite” by potentially risking a government shutdown in their stand-off with Democrats over spending, though he acknowledged that a repeat of the 1995 shutdown is unlikely.

Watch the segment with former Rep. Martin Frost HERE.

Also today, we got a preview of the big Supreme Court cases on the docket with Ariane de Vogue, who covers the high court for ABC News.

Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.

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