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Monday, October 20, 2014

 1:58 PM 

3rd CD Republican candidate knocks Kind over PAC contributions

Tony Kurtz, the Prairie du Chien Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Ron Kind in western Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District, today announced a TV ad criticizing the La Crosse Dem's PAC contributions.

The 30-second spot shows Kind's face on a video game character, which is then shown "gobbling up millions in campaign cash" on the screen.

"Congressman Ron Kind takes over 70 percent of his campaign money from Washington, D.C., special interest PACs," an announcer says. "After 18 years, he's become Washington's PAC man, and the special interests expect favors for funding Kind's campaign."

-- By Staff

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

 8:25 PM 

Ryan says in new TV ad his job to strengthen Medicare, Social Security

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan says in his new TV ad his job in Congress is to strengthen and secure Medicare and Social Security.

Ryan, R-Janesville, has been targeted by Dems for his various budget proposals that have suggested changes to government entitlement programs.

In the ad, the third of his campaign, Ryan introduces his mom and Aunt Ellen. He says they both depend on the two programs and "deserve it, because like all retirees they've earned it."
“Sure have,” his mom says.

“Letting Medicare and Social Security go bankrupt is unacceptable," Ryan says. "Their job is to stay healthy. My job in Congress is to strengthen and secure Medicare and Social Security so you have it when you need it."

-- By JR Ross

 12:27 PM 

Latest Marquette poll has Burke, Walker tied at 47

The latest Marquette University Law School Poll has Gov. Scott Walker and Dem rival Mary Burke tied among likely voters.

Forty-seven percent of likely voters backed each candidate two weeks after the poll had Walker up 50-45.

The poll also found a tie in the AG's race, where Dem Susan Happ and Republican Brad Schimel were each backed by 42 percent of likely voters surveyed. Last time, Schimel had a 41-39 edge.

The survey of 1,004 registered voters, including 803 likely voters, was conducted Thursday through Sunday via land lines and cell phones, which accounted for about 40 percent of the sample. The margin of error for registered voters was plus or minus 3.2 percentage points, while it was 3.5 percentage points among likely voters.

-- By JR Ross

 10:40 AM 

New Grothman TV ad promises he'll talk less, cut taxes more

Republican Glenn Grothman’s 6th CD campaign is out with a new TV ad promising he’ll talk less and cut more taxes if elected next month.

The spot opens with the narrator saying politicians in Washington love two things -- “to hear themselves talk and to interfere in our lives.”

“But no matter how badly the Obama administration wants it to, big government will never solve our problems, and that’s why we need more people like Glenn Grothman in Congress,” the narrator says.

She adds Grothman will “talk less, cut more taxes, reform government handouts and make the federal bureaucracy smaller and more accountable” before urging viewers to vote for him Nov. 4.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

 11:12 AM 

Walker says in new TV ad Burke twisting his comments on jobs

Gov. Scott Walker is out with a new TV ad that accuses Dem rival Mary Burke of "distorting my comments on jobs."

Walker does not specify what Burke is saying. But her campaign has seized upon his comment in Friday's debate that "We don’t have a job problem in this state. We have a work problem."

Walker, wearing a plaid button-down shirt and talking to the camera in what appears to be a factory, says it's no wonder Burke is distorting his comments because "the tax and spend policies she supports drove out good paying manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin. We’re bringing them back."

Walker says there are more than 100,000 new jobs since he took office and Wisconsin ranks fifth in the nation for new manufacturing jobs, which is why his administration invested more than $100 million into worker training to "help people get the jobs available today."

"Mary Burke will take us backwards," Walker says to close the spot. "Instead, let’s keep moving Wisconsin forward."

-- By JR Ross

 8:22 AM 

Ryan vows to 'always step up to the plate' in new TV spot

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan today announced a second TV ad in his 1st CD re-election campaign.

The 30-second spot features the Janesville Republican and his family on a softball diamond.

"Notice how my kids hit?" Ryan asks. "They step right up to the plate. That’s what I’ve tried to do in Congress."

Ryan then touts four balanced budgets that "cut trillions in wasteful spending and pay down our debt to save our children’s future."

"When it comes to protecting taxpayers’ money, I will always step up to the plate because you deserve a government that respects your hard work," Ryan says.

-- By Staff

Monday, October 13, 2014

 11:17 AM 

WMC TV ad credits Walker's policies for good things happening

The WMC Issues Mobilization Council is out with a new TV ad that says “Something is happening in Wisconsin” and credits Gov. Scott Walker’s policies.

The ad features a series of images from around the state. The narrator says “people are working, families are saving and the American Dream is very much alive.”

The narrator then adds taxes are down, employment is up and “Governor Walker’s reforms have saved taxpayers three billion.”

“Something’s happening, here, now, in Wisconsin, and we’ve only just begun,” the narrator says to close the spot.

-- By JR Ross

 10:40 AM 

Greater Wisconsin TV ad accuses Walker of repealing equal pay law to benefit 'corporate friends'

The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund is out with a new ad that charges Gov. Scott Walker repealed the state’s equal pay law to benefit his “corporate friends.”

The narrator in the spot says “it’s not right” when women earn less than men for the same work. But Walker repealed Wisconsin’s Equal Pay Enforcement Act.

The narrator adds Walker’s corporate friends who lobbied to repeal the law then spent $8 million to support the guv in his campaigns.

“Now, it’s even easier for corporations to get away with paying women less,” the narrator says to close the spot as the words "Nov. 4th it's time for him to go" appear across the bottom of the screen.

“That’s how things work in Scott Walker’s Wisconsin. He gets more, women get paid less.”

-- By JR Ross

 8:54 AM 

Burke campaign ad highlights Trek experience

Mary Burke's campaign today announced a new 60-second TV ad focusing on the Dem guv candidate's tenure at Trek Bicycle.

The spot opens with footage of the building in which Burke's father founded the Waterloo-based company, which an announcer says she "helped turn into a global powerhouse," dramatically increasing sales in Europe and pumping "nearly $100 million a year into the Wisconsin economy."

The ad also says Burke served as Commerce secretary "when Wisconsin had 50,000 more jobs than under Scott Walker" and that her education program is "giving more kids the chance to go to college."

"I’ll put problem solving ahead of politics, and work every day to create good jobs that make your family stronger," Burke says to close the ad. "Because the economy isn’t better until it’s better for you."

-- By Staff

Sunday, October 12, 2014

 10:06 PM 

New Greater Wisconsin TV ad accuses Walker of selling out state farmers

The Greater Wisconsin Committee is out with a new TV ad that accuses Walker of selling out state farmers.

The spot shows activity on a farm as several people say Walker doesn’t “understand the family farmer” and family farms “keep the smaller communities going.”

The narrator says Walker tried to change the law so foreign companies and governments could buy more Wisconsin law before a woman says, “Scott Walker is selling out Wisconsin farmers.”

A man says if “Walker’s law passed, we’d have all kinds of foreign corporations buying up our land.”

“Scott Walker has big real estate guys who give him money so they can sell more of our land,” another says.

The narrator closes the spot, “Tell Governor Walker to stop selling out Wisconsin farmers.”

-- By JR Ross

 8:24 PM 

Focus on ethics as Happ, Schimel meet for first debate of AG campaign

MILWAUKEE -- As they met for the first debate of the general election campaign, Democrat Susan Happ and Republican Brad Schimel traded shots on ethics.

Happ, the Jefferson County DA, was asked about her decision not to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the prosecution of a man involved in a sexual case even though her husband had sold property to the man for $180,000 several years earlier. An assistant DA in her office handled the case.

Mike Gousha, the moderator of the event held at the Marquette University Law School, asked her if in retrospect she would do anything differently.

"If I could change it because of the way it's been portrayed, yes," she said, adding however that she was properly screened off from the case. After the debate, Republicans accused Happ of lying about the case when she said it came to her office in 2013. Records show it was filed in 2012, and Happ's campaign said afterward that she misspoke.

During the debate Happ said the case was no different than that of Bill Kramer, the former Republican majority leader who lost his post after he was charged with two counts of sexual assault. Kramer had donated $500 to Schimel's campaign and a Schimel assistant is handling that prosecution.

Schimel, the Waukesha County DA, said the cases were far different and that he gave $500 to a local woman's shelter.

"There was no victim complaint," Schimel said, referring to the complaint filed against Happ with the Office of Lawyer Regulation.

Happ responded that "partisan politics have been integral" in the case against her.

She also cited Schimel's failure to prosecute a lawyer who shredded documents related to the John Doe investigation and his decision to reach a plea deal with Scott Jensen in which felony charges stemming from the so-called "caucus scandal" were dropped. She said the Waukesha County DA's office has been "politicized."

In turn, Schimel responded that Happ had dismissed a domestic violence case brought against a Democrat.

"We can keep going back and forth on this," he said.

In a separate exchange, Gousha asked Schimel if he believed allegations made by Republicans that the John Doe investigations involving Gov. Scott Walker's campaign and his former aides in the Milwaukee County exec's office were a political witch hunt. Schimel referenced his acquaintance with Milwaukee County DA John Chisholm, saying, "If the allegations are true I would be surprised.”

However, he said the challenges to the secret investigation have created “a crisis in confidence” in the procedure. While John Doe investigations are generally effective, he said “periodic review” by the attorney general’s office or the appellate courts may be warranted.

Happ shot back that GOP Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen was asked to take charge of the investigation but refused, citing his and Walker’s affiliation with the Republican Party.

“The process is a good one,” she said.

Also in the debate, the two differed over the role of the attorney general.

Schimel said absent "a definitive decision from a court that says that law is not constitutional," it was key for the AG to "step up to the plate and defend our laws from attack."

Happ said the attorney general did have an obligation to enforce the laws and defend them when challenged, but she said her duty to the Constitution meant that the AG should not defend "blatantly unconstitutional" laws. She also noted that attorneys general had the discretion to choose which laws to defend, giving the example of Van Hollen's refusal to defend the state's domestic partnership registry.

"The attorney general is not a robot," she said. "The attorney general has to be able to look at the law, compare it to the Constitution and determine if it passes constitutional muster."

However, she said, “it should be rare, it should be the exception.”

Schimel replied that making decisions about which laws to defend was not the role of the attorney general, saying the AG should not be a "super-legislator" and drawing a comparison to a private practice lawyer working contrary to the interests of a client.

"The attorney general is the state's lawyer," he said. "It's your job to represent the state."

-- By Marie Rohde
For WisPolitics.com

Saturday, October 11, 2014

 5:09 PM 

Warren says Burke for the people, Walker for the 'rich and powerful'

MILWAUKEE -- U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren told Mary Burke’s supporters Saturday the Dem guv candidate is “working her heart out to build a future for the people of Wisconsin, for the people of this country," whereas Gov. Scott Walker "makes it clear he's here for the rich and powerful."

"The motto of the Republican party should be, 'I got mine -- the rest of you are on your own,'” Warren told a crowd at UW-Milwaukee. "I'll tell you, that's very much what Scott Walker has pulled Wisconsin toward.”

Warren, D-Mass., said the Great Depression taught America to invest in education and infrastructure to allow businesses to grow and provide jobs.

Republicans "turned us in a different direction" starting in the 1980s, Warren said, by "eliminating the rules for Wall Street (to) let them paint bull's eyes on the backsides of American families. They make billions and leave the wreckage behind."

"What Mary believes and what I believe is that we're here for democracy," said Warren, who hugged Burke and said the two had been talking "long before" Burke decided to run for governor.

Republicans slammed the appearance, calling Warren “a divisive liberal” elitist.

“It speaks volumes that Mary Burke would appear with Elizabeth Warren, a bitter, hyper-partisan well known for her aggressive comments that have alienated everyday Americans and even members of her own party,” said Joe Fadness, executive director of the state GOP.

Burke told the crowd she'd fight to make funding for tech colleges and universities a priority in the state budget and would help ease student loan debt.

It's not enough for Walker to simply freeze tuition in the UW System, Burke said, noting that Walker "cut $250 million out of our UW System and set our technical college funding back to 1989 levels."

Burke said she will make student loans tax deductible and would increase tax tuition deductions. She would also propose creating a refinancing authority.

"There's no reason for the hundreds of thousands of people in this state who are paying off their student loans to have interest rates of 6, 7, 8, 9 percent, when the state can actually borrow at a much, much lower interest rate," she said.

Reporters were told there was no time for questions either before or after the event. Warren also tweeted about a stop in Waukesha this morning to rally canvassers for Burke. The stop was not on the advisory sent to the media.

-- By Kay Nolan

Friday, October 10, 2014

 10:00 PM 

Burke, Walker trade jabs on jobs in first debate

EAU CLAIRE -- Dem Mary Burke argued Friday Wisconsin has fallen to dead last in the Midwest for jobs growth as Gov. Scott Walker’s policies have failed to produce the 250,000 jobs he promised during his first term.

Walker countered during their first debate his opponent was relying on outdated figures and the state is actually in the region’s top five. He also knocked her time as Commerce secretary.

Walker said the state lost 133,000 jobs before he took office, but has since created 100,000. In contrast, he said the state ranked 42nd in the country for job growth while Burke was Commerce secretary and saw its unemployment rate eclipse the national figure for the only time in the last 25 years.

“I don’t want to go backward to those failed policies,” Walker said.

Burke shot back while she was at Commerce, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.8 percent, there were 50,000 more jobs in the state and she cut $70 million from the agency’s budget.

“I don’t think we should be doubling down on a strategy that hasn’t worked for the last four years,” she said.

The debate, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and held in the auditorium at Mayo Clinic Health System, included a panel of journalists who asked the candidates on issues that included frac sand mining, voter ID and Act 10, among other things.

Walker refused to be pinned down on whether he still opposed abortion in all cases, including rape and incest, and if he believed someone could live on the minimum wage.

Walker said he is pro-life, but the abortion question was settled by the U.S. Supreme Court 40 years ago.

Burke responded that Walker was glossing over his true position on abortion and said the governor supported “invasive procedures” such as mandatory ultrasounds for women seeking one.

Pressed on the minimum wage, Walker noted that he had made the minimum wage while a teenager working at McDonald’s but that “I didn’t expect that was going to be my lifetime’s work.” He said his administration is focused on creating better-paying jobs through policies such as boosting job training through tech colleges. He also touted the number of jobs posted on a state website.

"We don’t have a job problem in this state," Walker said. "We have a work problem."

Burke said she favored increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in three steps, saying it was unrealistic to believe all of the workers in sectors like retail could leave their jobs to attend tech colleges to train as welders. She said Walker cut tech college funding back to 1989 levels in his first budget, resulting in a waiting list of 41,000 people for financial aid.

During the debate, Burke twice slammed the governor over a $700,000 donation from mining firm Gogebic Taconite to the pro-Walker Club for Growth during the recall campaigns. The donation was revealed in documents that were released as part of a lawsuit challenging a John Doe probe into coordination between Walker's campaign and conservative groups.

When asked about the impact of frac sand mining on western Wisconsin, Burke pivoted to Gogebic’s planned iron-ore mine in northern Wisconsin, claiming Walker changed the rules because of the donation.

Walker didn’t reply to Burke’s comments about the donation, although he has previously said he didn’t solicit the contribution and was unaware of it at the time. On the question of mining, Walker said the frac sand industry was a boon to the economy and it could be extracted without harming the environment.

Walker rejected federal money to expand the Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act. Instead, he used BadgerCare to cover those below the poverty line while pushing others who previously received their health care through the program into the exchanges created under Obamacare.

Responding to a panel question, Walker said he wouldn’t change his decision and that doing so would be tantamount to depending on a federal government that can’t get its own fiscal house in order.

“I think Obamacare has failed to live up to its promise,” he said. “I would like to repeal it.”

Walker added that instead of accepting the federal funds, his administration eliminated the BadgerCare waiting list for Wisconsinites under the poverty line.

Burke responded that Walker’s decision cost the state $206 million in the current biennium and noted that most other governors -- including some Republicans -- had accepted the funds.

“This is Wisconsin taxpayer money that we send to Washington, and the fact that we don’t have a governor try to get that money back for Wisconsin is irresponsible,” she said.

The panel also asked the candidates if they would serve a full four years if elected in November. Burke said she’d not only serve the full term, but would like to become the longest serving governor in Wisconsin history. Tommy Thompson now holds that honor after serving 14 years in the post.

“There’s no greater honor, there’s no greater job in the world for me,” Burke said.

Walker, often mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2016, said his plan is to serve the full four years.

“Looking at my wife right now, I know there’s no way I could run for four terms, maybe two, but that’s about it,” Walker said.

After the debate, Walker spokesman Tom Evenson wouldn’t clarify if the governor’s quip amounted to a two-term pledge.

“Gov. Walker’s plan is to be the governor for the next four years if the people of Wisconsin decide,” Evenson said.

In the final question of the debate, the candidates were asked to name one of their opponent’s positive qualities. Walker replied quickly that he admired Burke’s philanthropic activity. Burke, who answered the question second, paused before saying Walker deserved praise for his work on domestic violence and on behalf of charity.

The second and final debate will be held Oct. 17 in Milwaukee. It will also be sponsored by the WBA.

-- By Tom Giffey
For WisPolitics.com

 3:23 PM 

Burke TV ad hits Walker over 'comeback'

Mary Burke's campaign today announced a new TV ad criticizing the “comeback” under the Walker administration.

“He calls it a comeback, but under Scott Walker, family incomes are down $2,700 and Wisconsin workers get paid $5,000 less a year than in Minnesota,” an announcer says in the 30-second spot.

The ad also says Walker implemented “the deepest education cuts in the nation” while wage growth, consumer spending and job growth are “dead last in the Midwest.”

“Those at the top are doing just fine, but the rest of us can’t afford four more years,” the announcer says to close the ad.

-- By Staff

 9:54 AM 

NARAL releases new TV ad accusing Walker of not being honest on abortion

NARAL Pro-Choice America released a new TV ad today accusing Gov. Scott Walker of not being honest with Wisconsin women in his new spot on abortion.

A woman identified as Miranda from Madison talks into the camera, saying she saw Walker's latest ad and "you're not being honest with Wisconsin women."

She goes on to cite an interview Walker did in which he said he supports banning abortion "entirely" with no exceptions for rape or incense and says he signed a law "allowing government to interfere in our private health care decisions, even forcing some women to undergo invasive transvaginal ultrasounds."

"With everything our families are facing, why is your priority interfering with my health care decisions?" she asks to close the spot. "Well, Governor Walker, I’ve made my decision. Wisconsin needs a new direction."

-- By JR Ross

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