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Will Obama Apologize For Killing Union Employees' Lifeline to Jobs?

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It's not often that you see the Chairman of the Republican National Committee writing in the Huffington Post to express solidarity with the head of an AFL-CIO union.

But the Keystone XL pipeline is one issue we can all agree on -- that is, unless you're President Obama in an election year.

Mark Ayers, the recent past head of AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department, put it perfectly in a Huffington Post op-ed last November: "For America's skilled craft construction professional, any discussion of the Keystone XL project begins and ends with one word: JOBS."

Apparently, however, the only job President Obama thinks about when he hears "Keystone XL" is his own. Never mind the jobs it would create. (Ayers said 20,000 directly and 500,000 through a multiplier effect.) Never mind the energy is would produce. (The AFL-CIO estimates 500,000 barrels of oil a day.) No, President Obama only cares about ensuring a steady flow of cash from left-wing environmentalists into his campaign coffers.

Here's how Politico characterized the decision at the time: {Democrats} "say the politics were clear: With the exceptions of the grousing unions (who will have no choice but to support him in 2012), the party's donor base, environmental advocates down to their hybrid SUVs oppose the pipeline."

If there were any doubt that decisions in the Obama White House are cold, political calculations, the Keystone decision should erase all of it. As the head of the Laborers' International Union of North America said, it represents "politics at its worst." Ayers called it "political posturing."

That will surely make things awkward for the president today. He's speaking before the Building and Construction Trades Department union conference in Washington, DC. In a September video about Keystone, the union called the project a "lifeline" for their unemployed members.

So what do you say to a group whose lifeline you destroyed?

The president will surely obfuscate and dodge the issue -- or claim it was not a rejection but merely a delay.

But for unemployed Americans, especially the thousands who could have found good-paying jobs with the Keystone project, that's a distinction without a difference. They cannot delay paying the mortgage or the gas, grocery, and health care bills. They have been telling the president for months: "We can't wait!"

That used to be one of President Obama's favorite slogans. Now it's backfired. As Mr. Ayers said the Keystone decision makes "we can't wait" simply "ring hollow." To borrow yet another line from him, "For the 99% of Americans, Keystone = JOBS." And that must put President Obama in the one percent.

Keystone is an economic issue, an energy issue, and a national security issue. But like almost everything, for President Obama it's a political issue.

Good luck explaining that to union members whose lifeline you clipped.