President Obama gave a speech this week touting weatherization as a “sexy” way to save money and make the world a greener place. His audience included Senators, mayors, and labor leaders, and he cracked jokes in between serious discussion of insulation, job creation, and clean energy.

All well and good, right?

But the backdrop for Obama’s “sexy” discussion? Home Depot. Yes, THAT Home Depot, the big-box home goods store famous for its union-busting bosses. Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus once referred to the Employee Free Choice Act, the bill that would make it easier for employees to unionize, as “the demise of civilization.” Robert Nardelli, former CEO of Home Depot, was a Pioneer fundraiser for George W. Bush.

Just a few days before jetting to Copenhagen, Obama couldn’t find a small business to tout while pushing his green agenda? Home Depot wasn’t just his backdrop, after all—he gave them several shout-outs, saying he was “with folks who play a vital role in helping America’s families build strong homes.”

Imagine, this is the same president who spoke out on behalf of Republic Windows and Doors employees whose occupation of the factory kept the place open. How about holidng the presser there? He could have praised their energy-efficient windows and doors — and their union while he was about it.

Obama sent a message by supporting the union workers’ fight a year ago, and as recently as April, Vice-President Joe Biden made a speech with the Serious Materials factory as a backdrop. I can’t help but think that Obama was also sending a message by choosing Home Depot this time.

The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at and Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders, author, and host of RadioNation on Air America Radio, has built a reputation for courageous investigative journalism coupled with compassion and a sense of humor. In writing her last book, Blue Grit, she traveled the country reporting on grassroots success stories and broadcast live to over 150 radio stations from community centers in places including Helena, Salt Lake City, New Orleans, Miami, Las Vegas, and Milwaukee. In her television appearances (Lou Dobbs, Larry King Live,) on radio and in her many books (including Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species) and articles (The Nation and others,) Flanders calls for a new politics of fairness, equality and citizen action. Articulating the human dimension of American communities in trouble, her programs have become destinations for those seeking the skills and the will to make a difference. Flanders is a regular contributor to the Nation Magazine and CNN. Before joining Air America, where she was part of the original lineup, and hosted “The Laura Flanders Show” for three years, Flanders was the founding host of the award-winning “Your Call” weekday mornings on public radio, KALW in the Bay Area and CounterSpin, the radio show of the mediawatch group, FAIR.