• WisPolitics

Saturday, September 29, 2012

 12:24 PM 

President Obama due to visit Madison on Thursday

President Obama is due to visit Madison for a "grassroots event" on Thursday, according to an advisory from his campaign.

The first presidential debate is set for Wednesday in Denver and the following day the campaign says Obama is due to hold events in Denver and in Madison.

Further details on the Madison event will be announced later.

See the campaign announcement:

Friday, September 28, 2012

 9:56 PM 

Thompson and Baldwin go on attack in first U.S. Senate debate

MILWAUKEE -- Tommy Thompson portrayed Senate opponent Tammy Baldwin Friday night as a “taxer and a spender” who is outside the mainstream while Baldwin countered that Thompson has become a tool of special interests during his time away from Wisconsin.

Both candidates came out swinging early in their first debate, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association. Thompson said Baldwin has failed during her 14 years in Congress to address some of the most pressing issues facing the country.

"My opponent is so far to the extreme even her party doesn’t pass any of her legislation," Thompson said.

Baldwin countered Thompson cut a sweetheart deal with drug companies while he was Health and Human Services secretary. In her opening statement, Baldwin, D-Madison, said she has spent her time in Washington, D.C., taking on special interests to protect the middle class.

“My opponent has taken on powerful special interests as clients,” Baldwin said. “So ask yourself tonight: Who is better to represent the middle class?”

See more on Friday's debate here.

-- By Jason Smathers

 5:59 PM 

In Appleton, Michelle Obama urges supporters to get out the vote

APPLETON -- First Lady Michelle Obama used her address today at Lawrence University to urge the audience – which was filled with students – to stay active throughout the presidential campaign and get out the vote.

"We need to turn the energy from this rally into action," she said while speaking to a boisterous crowd of about 2,400 people packed inside Alexander Gym. "We need to keep working right up to the very end. We cannot turn back now. We've come so far, but we have a lot more to do."

With the election less than 40 days away, the first lady said that a handful of votes could make all the difference in the result and encouraged students to vote early so "they don't procrastinate or forget" once Election Day comes.

Obama said her husband faced enormous challenges when he took office back in January 2009, but that much progress has been made. She pointed to economic growth – "we are now adding jobs, no longer losing jobs" – the end of the war in Iraq and the passage of the Affordable Care Act. "What we accomplished with health care shows you a lot about the character of Barack. He didn't care about doing what was easy; he cared about doing what was right."

The first lady focused much of her 30-minute speech on her husband's character and said he's always thinking about the American people in every decision he makes.

"Barack believes in the value of hard work and that if you do that, you will be able to build a better life for your children and grandchildren. He also believes you don't slam the door of opportunity behind you, but that you reach back and help other people through," Obama said. "He also knows that truth matters and it's important we have a president who tells us the truth, not just what we want to hear."

With so many women and college students in the crowd, she targeted some of her comments directly at them.

"Barack is a man who will always have your back," she said, addressing the women in the crowd. "He has improved your access to health care and realizes you should be the ones to decide what's right for your bodies."

For the college students present, Obama talked about the president's efforts to increase the amount of Pell Grants available to students. "We know what it's like to graduate from college with tons of debt. We've been there and lived that," she said.

Before Obama took the stage, former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold, who lost in 2010 to Republican Ron Johnson, warmed up the crowd and talked about the importance of re-electing the president. Feingold is currently a visiting professor at Lawrence.

"We still have work to do and we can't go back to the failed policies that got us in such a terrible mess," he said.

-- By MaryBeth Matzek
For WisPolitics.com

 12:23 PM 

Barrett's office stands by Obama attendance estimate despite conservative doubts

Conservatives are questioning a widely reported crowd estimate of 18,000 for Obama’s rally Saturday on the Summerfest grounds.

The estimate originated with Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett’s office and was included in a pool report and provided by a Democratic campaign official to various media outlets, including WisPolitics.com.

But conservative commentators have taken issue with that estimate, noting the BMO Harris Pavilion, where the event was held, seats just 5,000 and videos show some empty seats. According the venue’s website, there are 5,000 seats and a standing area that holds another 5,000, but the standing area is not fenced in from the rest of the Summerfest grounds.

According to Barrett campaign aide Patrick Guarasci, the mayor stands behind his estimate, which, working with event organizers, was based on the number of tickets distributed and the observed crowd size. Guarasci said the crowd not only filled the seating and standing areas inside the venue, but extended outside of the venue perimeter.

“Anyone who would dispute that clearly didn't attend the rally,” Guarasci said, adding the event was “an extraordinary success” and that people may be trying to minimize the attendance figures for political gain.

When WisPolitics.com arrived just before 4:30 p.m., a compact line several people wide stretched along Harbor Drive from the Hank Aaron Trail to the south gate, a distance of about a half mile, according to Google Maps. As Sen. Herb Kohl spoke at about 4:45 p.m., the seating area appeared largely full and people were continuing to stream into the standing area, which appeared about half full at that time. Obama started speaking roughly 30 minutes later, but the attendance at that point was difficult to gauge because the standing area was not visible from the press seating area.

See more on the criticism at newsbusters.org

-- By David Wise

 10:05 AM 

New Thompson ad uses Pelosi comments to attack Baldwin on Medicare

A new ad from Tommy Thompson claims that U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin is to the left of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and "too extreme" for Wisconsin voters.

The 30-second ad, titled "Too Liberal", starts by asking how extreme Baldwin is before playing the clip of her saying she supported a government takeover of medicine.

"So extreme that even San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi attacked Baldwin's radical plan for disrupting Medicare for seniors," the narrator says, as a portion of her quote is displayed on the screen.

The ad also claims that she would tax middle class families more almost $3,000 to pay for her plan.

The ad ends with the tagline: "Tammy Baldwin: Too liberal for Nancy Pelosi, too extreme for Wisconsin."

-- By Jason Smathers

Thursday, September 27, 2012

 3:51 PM 

Supreme Court refuses to take up voter ID

The state Supreme Court today refused the attorney general's request to take up two voter ID cases that found the requirement was unconstitutional.

In one order, the court called Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen's petition to bypass the appeals courts  premature.

  Read the orders here and here.

-- By JR Ross

 1:32 PM 

Kreitlow ad criticizes House GOP budget

Pat Kreitlow's congressional campaign debuted a new TV ad this week criticizing the House GOP budget with the use of a pile of chopped wood.

"The budget Sean Duffy voted for cuts Medicare benefits to pay for more tax cuts for the wealthy," the former Dem state senator says as a pair of lumberjacks move wood onto one side of the pile in the background. "Just as much spending, but seniors get less, and millionaires get more."

"We need a real plan to balance the budget. ... We have to make sure seniors don't get rolled," Kreitlow says as the woodpile crashes down.

-- By Andy Szal

 1:27 PM 

New DSCC ad says Thompson "not thinking about you" on Medicare

 A new ad from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee once again ties Tommy Thompson to special interests and says he plans to "gut Medicare."

The 30-second ad begins with video of Thompson with his name displayed with the title "partner, Washington lobbying firm." The narrator then asks "When Tommy Thompson talks about Medicare, what's he really thinking about?" The ad then zooms into what is supposed to be his brain.

"The special interests, how Tommy Thompson sold his influence and connections to them, making millions," the narrator says. "Or Thompson's plan to gut Medicare, which would cost seniors over 6,000 more a year, to give more tax breaks to millionaires."

The narrator ends, as the camera zooms and focuses back on Thompson, "Whatever Tommy Thompson's thinking about, it probably isn't you."

-- By Jason Smathers

 11:11 AM 

Liberal super PAC: Poll shows Duffy leading 7th CD race 48-44

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy leads former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow by four percentage points in the race for the 7th Congressional District, according to poll results announced today by liberal group CREDO SuperPAC.

The poll, conducted by North Carolina-based Dem firm Public Policy Polling, surveyed 694 voters in the northwestern Wisconsin district. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they supported Duffy, R-Weston, to 44 percent for Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls. Seven percent said they were undecided.

The survey also showed respondents preferred "someone else" over Duffy by a 47-46 margin, and that 42 percent had a favorable opinion of the incumbent compared to 44 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

The poll had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.72 percent.

-- By Andy Szal

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

 3:46 PM 

New Obama TV ad knocks Romney's business experience

Barack Obama’s campaign has begun a new TV ad in Wisconsin criticizes Mitt Romney’s business experience and says he’s “the problem.”

The narrator in the spot says when Romney led Bain, “hundreds of plants, factories, and stores were shuttered,” while workers say their wages “slashed” and their jobs were sent overseas while, “Romney made a fortune.”

The narrator says Romney now wants to bring that business experience “to us” and he’d keep tax breaks for outsourcing while handing new tax cuts to millionaires and raising taxes on the middle class.

“Romney’s not the solution,” the narrator says to close the spot. “He’s the problem.”

-- By JR Ross

 12:13 PM 

Two debates set in 7th CD race

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy and former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow are set to debate twice in the race for northwestern Wisconsin's 7th Congressional District.

Duffy, R-Weston, announced late Tuesday that he's accepted a debate invitation for Nov. 1 at the Yellowjacket Union on the UW-Superior campus.

He'd previously accepted an invitation for Oct. 22 on the UW-Marathon County campus in Wausau.

"Along with the more than 50 public town halls and hundreds of parades, festivals and dairy breakfasts Congressman Duffy has attended in the last two years, the two debates on October 22 and November 1 will give voters a fair look at the candidates heading into Election Day," Duffy campaign manager Justin Richards said in a statement.

Campaign officials for Kreitlow, D-Chippewa Falls, earlier this week also called for an Oct. 28 televised debate on WSAW-TV, arguing that no TV station had confirmed they would televise the UW-Marathon County debate.

"It would seem hypocritical for Congressman Duffy to brag about his 'accessibility' while delaying confirmation to debates that would be broadcast throughout the district," the Kreitlow Campaign charged in a statement.

-- By Staff

 11:55 AM 

New "face-to-face" Romney ad airing in Wisconsin

A new ad from Mitt Romney airing in Wisconsin features Mitt Romney talking directly to the camera about the failures of the Obama administration on the economy.

The 60-second TV ad, titled "Too Many Americans," begins with Romney saying that too many Americans are having trouble finding jobs and many of those with jobs are living "paycheck-to-paycheck." He also says that more Americans are in poverty and on food stamps than four years ago.

"President Obama and I both care about poor and middle-class families," Romney said. "The difference is, my policies will make things better for them.We shouldn't measure compassion by how many people are on welfare. We should measure compassion by how people are able to get off welfare and get a good-paying job."

Romney then says his plan will create 12 million new jobs, strengthening the middle class.

The ad ends with Romney saying that "we can't afford another four years like the last four years."

-- By Jason Smathers

 11:50 AM 

Pro-Romney super PAC starts new TV ad, asks if country is going backward

The pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future started a new TV ad in Wisconsin today that asks if the country is going forward or backward.

The spot opens with the narrator noting if the viewer's daughter was 1-year-old when President Obama was inaugurated, she just started kingergarten.

"Is her future getting better?" the narrator asks.

The narrator then goes on to say American is experiencing the worst economy recovery since the Great Depression under Obama, the real unemployment rate is 19 percent counting those who have dropped out or stopped looking for work, and Obama has added more debt than the first 41 presidents combined.

"Is America going forward? Or backward?" the narrator asks to close the spot.

-- By JR Ross

 8:30 AM 

Ryan to be back in Wisconsin Oct. 6 for fundraiser

Paul Ryan will be back in Wisconsin Oct. 6 for a fundraiser in Milwaukee, according to an invitation obtained by WisPolitics.com.

The event at the Pfister Hotel includes beginning donations at $250 per person for young professionals 35 and under. Donations then run from $1,000 for the general reception, $5,000 per couple for a photo opportunity, $15,000 for a private dinner, and donations of $50,000 and $100,000 per couple to be a founding member or partner, respectively.

Those donating at least $15,000 will also be invited to a New York event in mid-October, Election Night activities and the inauguration, according to the invite.

-- By JR Ross

 8:12 AM 

Crossroads GPS starts new TV ad knocking Baldwin

The conservative Crossroads GPS is launching a new TV ad targeting Dem U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin’s "extreme" tax-and-spend agenda.

The ad, called "Stamp," says "Tammy Baldwin's tax-and-spend agenda is just too extreme for Wisconsin," then charges she voted for higher taxes and spending as a stamp marks key words on the screen over her image.

The final stamp says, "Stamp out Tammy's taxes and spending" as a female announcer says, "We just can't afford Tammy Baldwin's tax-and-spend rubberstamp in Washington."

UPDATE: A Crossroads GPS spokesman says the $1.2 million ad buy is on top of the $960,000 buy the group did last week and pushes its total investment in the race to $2.7 million since mid-August. 

-- By Staff

 7:00 AM 

Ryan releases new TV ad, says country needs culture of accountability

Paul Ryan’s latest TV ad in his 1st CD race features the congressman saying the country needs a culture of accountability and personal responsibility.

The spot opens with Ryan at a town hall-style meeting as a woman asks, “Can America afford the path we are on?”

Ryan, legal pad in hand and power point presentation on the screen behind him, answers the country has a critical decision to make about whether “we leave something better or worse for our children?” He goes on to say politicians from both parties have made empty promises. The spot alternates between showing Ryan speaking to the audience and close-ups of faces of those listening to him.

“We must take action to prevent the most predictable economic crisis in our country’s history,” Ryan says the close the spot. “Washington promotes a culture of dependency; we need a culture of accountability and personal responsibility.”

The spot, like the other two he's released so far in the 1st CD campaign, makes no mention of his candidacy for the vice presidency.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

 3:46 PM 

New "Women Vote!" ad targets Thompson for trying to "fatten his wallet"

A new ad from EMILY's List PAC "Women Vote!" targets former Gov. Tommy Thompson for his ties to lobbying firms in Washington and says he's "changed a lot."

The 30-second TV ad, titled "Wallet," begins with two women saying they voted for Thompson, with the first woman adding that she "can't vote for him now, he's changed."

"Since leaving Wisconsin, Tommy sold his influence and connections to firms who would benefit on Capitol Hill, to, quote, 'fatten his wallet,'" the narrator says.

The ad then returns to the female voters and one man, who says once you make deals with firms like those, "You owe 'em."

The ad ends with Thompson's comment that "We went to Washington to change Washington, and Washington changed us."

-- By Jason Smathers

Monday, September 24, 2012

 7:23 PM 

Michelle Obama to be at Lawrence University Friday

The Obama campaign has announced Michelle Obama will visit Lawrence University on Friday.

The campaign had previously announced she would be in Appleton this week, but had not released details.

The campaign said she will speak at the school's Alexander Gymnasium about what's at stake in the election, encourage supporters to help organize their communities and promote voter registration.

-- By JR Ross

 12:23 PM 

WeAskAmerica: Baldwin up 11 points on Thompson

A new poll from WeAskAmerica has U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin up 11 percentage points on former Gov. Tommy Thompson in the U.S. Senate race.

The poll of 1,283 like voters, conducted via automatic polling from Sept. 20-23, had Baldwin up 51.8 percent to Thompson's 40.4 percent, with 7.8 percent undecided. Baldwin also led Thompson with independents, 53.1 percent to 35.9 percent.

The poll also showed President Barack Obama leading GOP challenger Mitt Romney 52.5 percent to 41 percent, with libertarian candidate Gary Johnson polling at 1.2 percent.

The poll had margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. WeAskAmerica is linked to the Illinois Manufacturers Association.

  -- By Jason Smathers

 9:51 AM 

New NRCC ads target Wall, Kreitlow

The National Republican Congressional Committee today debuted new TV ads running against Dem challengers in the 7th and 8th congressional districts.

The spot in northeastern Wisconsin's 8th CD charges that Green Bay business consultant Jamie Wall would "fit right in" in Washington, criticizing his support for federal health care reform.

"Medicare cuts, lost jobs, massive tax hikes," an announcer says. "Jamie Wall maybe ready for Washington, but are we ready for Jamie?"

The ad in the northwestern 7th CD, meanwhile, says former state Sen. Pat Kreitlow is "trying an extreme makeover" in his bid for Congress.

The spot alleges that Kreitlow voted for the largest tax increase and contributed to the largest deficit in state history, and shows the candidate saying, "You can’t tax your way to prosperity," and, "Democrats won’t cut the waste."

"Nice try Pat, but your record is clear, and your makeover won’t work," an announcer says to close the ad.

-- By Andy Szal

Saturday, September 22, 2012

 9:17 PM 

Obama's Milwaukee speech draws thousands to lakefront

Obama was met Saturday by an enthusiastic crowd officials pegged at roughly 18,000 at the Summerfest grounds.

The large crowd was undeterred by a line that stretched from the south gate of the grounds past the north gate. As they waited in line, rally-goers were met by more than a dozen vendors selling t-shirts, buttons, hats and even Obama-Biden cell phone cases.

One of those in the crowd was Marvin Spivcy, 42, of Milwaukee, who said the biggest issue he sees is the job market. Spivcy is currently unemployed due to the “tough economy,” he said. “It is hard out here right now.”

Spivcy said Obama has been trying to create jobs during his first term.

“He tried with unemployment even though it is stagnant right now,” he said. “Hopefully, in the next four years, he can turn it around.”

Another issue in Spivcy’s life is access to health care. Since he is unemployed, he is currently not covered. “I feel greatly for ObamaCare,” he said. “I support what he is doing.”

A pair of educators criticized Mitt Romney as they waited.

Retired Milwaukee Public School teacher Mary Jakubiak knocked him over his taxes.

“My income tax percentage of 26 percent was higher than his was,” she said.

“Obama supports the middle class,” she said. “He stands for women, workers and unions.”

Cynthia Schmechel, a teacher’s aide for MPS, said Romney doesn’t connect with the average person

“Mitt Romney is a phony,” she said. “He is a rich businessman and cannot relate to the real world.”

After the event, Harvey and Lynn Goldstein of Bayview said the rally was "inspiring."

Both Goldsteins work as volunteers for the Obama campaign and said they looked forward to voting for him again.

When asked what they thought the highlight of Obama's term was they both agreed it was the health care law. "The Affordable Care Act extends health care to Americans who cannot afford it on their own," Harvey Goldstein said.

They also said they weren't fans of the GOP ticket.

"I don't like Paul Ryan," Lynn Goldstein said. "I don't think his plan, the voucher system, will work."

"It puts the elderly in the hands of insurance companies," Harvey Goldstein added.

-- By Miranda Rosenkranz
For WisPolitics.com

 6:37 PM 

Obama targets Romney over '47 percent' comment

President Barack Obama today assailed Republican rival Mitt Romney for supporting the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the middle class as he spoke before an animated crowd of thousands at the Summerfest grounds in Milwaukee.

To a chorus of boos, Obama said Romney supports trickle-down economics.

"This country does not succeed when only a few do well," Obama said.

He knocked Romney for his comment about 47 percent of Americans not paying federal income taxes and being victims who depend on government.

"We can't move forward if we've got leaders who write off half of the nation," Obama said.

"I don't see any victims here," Obama said to loud applause. Instead, he said he saw hard-working Wisconsinites, college students, working single mothers, senior citizens, veterans and soldiers.

"We don't believe anybody is entitled to success," Obama said. "We don't believe government should help those who won't help themselves.

"But we do believe in opportunity," he said to cheers.

He said Romney aims to give tax breaks to the wealthy, while at the same time reducing the deficit. Doing so, Obama said, would come at the expense of the middle class.

"We need to bring down our deficit, but we don't need to do it by sticking it to the middle class," Obama said.

In contrast, Obama said he would return tax rates for those making more than $250,000 per year to the same levels they were at under President Bill Clinton.

"I want to keep your taxes low," Obama said. "I can afford to pay a little more, Mitt Romney can afford to pay a little more."

Obama pointed to economic success and outlined his plans for further improvement by boosting exports, investing in manufacturing, creating one million manufacturing jobs over the next four years, supporting higher education, including community and technical colleges, and cutting America's reliance on foreign sources of energy.

He said, however, that economic recovery won't be fast or easy.

"It's going to take a few years to solve challenges that have built up over a decade," Obama said.

But, he said, the country has the best workers, a diverse talent base and a strong educational system.

"There is not a country on earth that wouldn't trade places with the United States," he said

Obama also took time to address the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya that killed three Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

"We will bring those murderers to justice," Obama vowed.

On national security, Obama said he made good on his pledge to end the Iraq war and is winding down the war in Afghanistan. He said there is now a new tower rising at the World Trade Center site in New York, Al Qaeda is retreating in defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.

The crowd broke into cheers and chants of "U.S.A." in response.

The roughly 30-minute speech was briefly interrupted by rain.

Among those Obama pointed out in the crowd were Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Green Bay Packers Jermichael Finley and Desmond Bishop.

After the speech, Obama departed for the airport and was in the air at 6:15 p.m., according to a pool report.

-- By David Wise WisPolitics.com

 5:26 PM 

Baldwin, Kohl take stage ahead of Obama

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl warmed up the crowd as thousands gathered at the BMO Harris stage on the Summerfest grounds waiting for Obama to arrive.

Baldwin, who's running to replace Kohl in the U.S. Senate, criticized Romney over his secretly videotaped comments saying he was not concerned about winning the votes of the 47 percent of Americans who do not pay federal income taxes. She characterized Romney and her Republican rival in the U.S. Senate race, former Gov. Tommy Thompson, as being more concerned about the interests of the wealthy than the middle class.

To applause, she said Democrats understand "the best way to build the economy is from the middle class out, not the top down."

She also criticized Romney for supporting outsourcing through his work at Bain Capital, and said his investments continue to support jobs overseas.

Kohl urged attendees to get out the vote for Baldwin and Obama in November. Using his signature slogan, he praised Baldwin saying she will be "nobody's senator but yours."

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett also addressed the crowd before Obama spoke.

 5:14 PM 

Michelle Obama to be in Appleton area next week

First Lady Michelle Obama will be in the Appleton area next week for a campaign appearance, according to a pool report.

Details of the visit are to be determined. She was in Milwaukee last month for a get-out-the-vote effort.

-- By Staff

 4:59 PM 

At fundraiser, Obama says opponents believe in top-down approach to economy

President Obama told a capacity crowd at a fundraiser in the Milwaukee Theatre that his opponents believe in top-down economics with tax cuts skewed toward the wealthy “and prosperity will rain down on everyone else.”

The president said that approach has been tried before, but “top-down economics never works."

Obama also took a shot at opponent Mitt Romney and his comments that 47 percent of Americans are dependent upon the government and considers themselves victims.

"We can't get very far if we're just writing off half the country as a bunch of victims, or presume they want to be dependent on government or take responsibility for their own lives," he said, according to a pool report.

Obama vowed Medicare will not become a voucher program and he will not turn Social Security over to Wall Street. He also spoke of the promises he’s kept to end the war in Iraq and create a timetable for the return of troops from Afghanistan. He also mentioned he set in motion the killing of Osama bin Laden.

The president also vowed that he would continue to "sustain the strongest military the world has ever known."

"I think after a decade of war, it's time for us to do some nation building here at home," the president said.

The president also referenced his comments earlier in the week about being unable to change Washington. D.C., from the inside. He said his opponent would change Washington from the inside.

"What kind of inside job is he talking about?" he said.

  • Read the full text of Obama's remarks

    Obama thanked Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was at the fundraiser with his wife, Kris, and recounted a story told to him by his campaign manager, Jim Messina.

    Messina met some people who had a 4-year-old boy who said he knew who the president was. Asked what the president did, the boy said he “approves this message.”

    "That's what I do. I approve this message," Obama said.

    Messina, talking to the fundraiser about the Romney ground game, referenced the GOP organizing effort around the failed attempt to recall Gov. Scott Walker in June.

    "This is one where ... because of the recall election, they test drove their car whereas in other states they haven't,” Messina said. “It would make sense they're strong here, as are we. They are stronger than McCain was in '08, no question, on the ground. But we continue to have a strategic advantage" because of more field offices and infrastructure.

    Messina also noted the campaign is either tied or leading in every battleground poll 45 days out from the election. He said there will be a tightening in the national polls going forward, but he cares more about surveys coming out of battleground states.

    “There are two different campaigns, one in the battlegrounds and one everywhere else,” Messina said. “That's why the national polls aren't relevant to this campaign."

    After leaving the fundraiser, Obama stopped at Usinger’s Sausage shop in downtown Milwaukee on his way to the Summerfest grounds for his campaign rally.

    According to the pool report, Obama, accompanied by Barrett, requested three sausages, a kielbasa, an Italian, and something hot and spicy. The president paid for his food, though Barrett offered.

    He carried a box of sausage and was met outside the shop by Andy Fronek, of the Milwaukee Brat House, a Usinger's competitor. The president opened a Styrofoam container with a brat in a pretzel bun and took a bite and then posed for a picture with Fronek

  •  4:22 PM 

    Sen. Johnson says Obama is 'in hyperdrive misleading the American public'

    WAUKESHA -- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson criticized President Barack Obama on a range of issues Saturday afternoon, including his "you didn't build that" comments from earlier this year.

    "He simply does not understand or realize what made America great," the Oshkosh Republican said at today's "We Did Build It" event at the Waukesha Expo Center. The event -- sponsored by the CRG Network, Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs, Americans for Prosperity and the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin -- featured a keynote from Johnson as well as remarks from Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore.

    Johnson said the president had been selling snake oil to the American people by saying he would cut the deficit, reduce health care premiums, and that unemployment wouldn't reach 8 percent. He also said that the so-called "Buffett Rule" would only cover 11 hours of government spending.

    "Now folks, I don't know what you call that statement by President Obama, but whatever it was, it's a real doozy," Johnson said. "The fact of the matter is it was an outright lie. This president has been in hyperdrive misleading the American public, thinking that all you have to do, you want to solve our fiscal situation, just make the rich pay their fair share and all this goes away."

    He also said House Republicans are not proposing "draconian cuts" in their budget. Johnson said that 10 years ago the government spent $2.2 trillion and this year will spend $3.8 trillion.

    "The argument moving forward, the House budget would propose spending $4.9 trillion in 10 years, President Obama, it is not good enough for him, he wants to spend $6 trillion. Now you don't have to be a math major to see that I don't see cuts here," Johnson said, referring to one of many charts in his presentation.

    After the event, Johnson said he has found Washington D.C. to be incredibly frustrating since he was elected.

    "The failure of leadership in the United States Senate, I think is a national scandal," Johnson said.

    With Obama campaigning in Milwaukee, Johnson said his message for the president was that he had his chance.

    "You've had three and a half years and your record is one of failure," Johnson said.

    Despite polls showing Obama gaining a bigger lead in the Badger state, Johnson said he was optimistic Republicans could turn the state red in this presidential election. He said that since the state swung to Republicans in 2010, Gov. Scott Walker showed leadership during the collective bargaining battle and won his recall election. Meanwhile, Johnson said the country has added to the debt and the health care law is closer to implementation.

    "I think Wisconsinites are very fiscally conservative, think that government ought to live within its means. And they're appalled by what's happening to them," he said.

    Johnson said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been right on message recently.

    "In terms of talking about the government-centered society versus a society based on the individual, individual freedom and the free enterprise system. He is pointing out, he's got a plan, he picked Paul Ryan, he has the only budget that has been passed the last two years. You've got a plan the American people can actually evaluate and make a decision on," Johnson said.

    He added that Romney's statement about 47 percent of American's not paying income taxes was accurate.

    "Was it the best way of stating it? Probably not," Johnson said. "What President Obama is saying is just false. People that do build businesses, that do create things, they did build it, somebody else didn't make it happen."

    Successful businesses allow the government to be able to collect taxes and build roads and other infrastructure, Johnson said.

    "President Obama, simply -- I don't know why -- he's hostile to free enterprise, he's hostile to businesses, he's hostile to people making profits," Johnson said.

    The event began with a video that parodied the president's "you didn't build that line." It showed a young girl eagerly running up to her parents to show them a popsicle version of the Washington Monument. Her parents responded by saying she didn't build it since she didn't make the popsicles or cut down the trees to make them, among other reasons. At the end of the video the father said it was important to erode the child's sense of individualism while she was young.

    Commenting on the video, conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes, the event's master of ceremonies, said the president's remarks erase the notion of individual achievement. He added that it turns John F. Kennedy's statement about asking "what you can do for your country" on its head.

    The conservative crowd also heard from a series of business owners describing how they had built their businesses. The crowd was not highly energized initially. Instead, many nodded in agreement as they heard stories about how people built their businesses.

    The crowd started to cheer more as higher profile speakers came to the stage. When Kleefisch came to the stage they gave her a standing ovation. She responded by saying she owed them thanks for keeping Wisconsin's economy moving everyday.

    "We need to continue to embrace you and raise you up, instead of criticize you and insult you as our President Barack Obama has done," Kleefisch said of small business owners.

    -- By Arthur Thomas

     2:51 PM 

    President lands in Milwaukee, heads to fundraiser

    President Obama landed in Wisconsin this afternoon and headed to a fundraiser ahead of today’s public rally.

    Obama landed at the 128th Refueling Wing at Mitchell International Airport shortly after 1 p.m. and was greeted by about 80 supporters standing behind a rope line, according to a pool report.

    "How's it going?" he said after deplaning and greeting supporters. "It's about the closest I've been to home in a while."

    The presidential motorcade then headed to the Milwaukee Theatre, where Obama was to attend a fundraiser that included donations ranging from $250 for the general reception up to $25,000 for a roundtable discussion with the president.

    The Milwaukee Theatre was rebuilt in 2003 at a cost of $42 million and used to be called the Milwaukee Auditorium, which was built in 1909. On Oct. 14, 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was shot across the street from the auditorium. The former president, running for his old office on the Bull Moose ticket, refused medical attention until he delivered his speech.

    -- By Staff

     1:56 PM 

    Republicans argue Obama has 'Wisconsin problem' ahead of Milwaukee visit

    Putting out a pre-emptive strike on the president's visit to Milwaukee today, Republicans argued Barack Obama's visit is a sign he has a "Wisconsin problem."

    Publicly released polls out this week have shown Obama with a lead on Mitt Romney of anywhere from 3 to 14 percentage points. But Republicans jumped on Obama's first visit to Wisconsin in 220 days as a sign he has work to do here.

    "This election must be about who can best lead America to overcome its greatest challenges, and on every important measure President Obama has failed us over the last four years," Gov. Scott Walker said in statement. "It’s time for a change, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have the vision and experience required to confront our challenges and lead us toward prosperity for future generations."

    The state GOP called it a "last gasp stop," while Tommy Thompson's campaign and the NRSC sought to link the president and U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin.

    Romney's state campaign manager Danny O'Driscoll sent a memo to reporters stressing figures on the unemployment rate, poverty, food stamp enrollment, and the debt and deficit, while pointing out Republican gains in Wisconsin since 2008, including Walker winning the guv's office, Ron Johnson winning a U.S. Senate seat, taking control of the state Assembly and winning two House seats from Dems. He also took a shot at the president for failing to campaign in Wisconsin for Tom Barrett leading up to the failed recall attempt of Walker.

    "After two visits from Vice President Joe Biden and visits from Michelle Obama, Kathleen Sibelius, and Ken Salazar, it is clear Democrats are finally acknowledging what has been evident for some time: President Obama has a Wisconsin problem," O'Driscoll wrote.

    -- By JR Ross

    Friday, September 21, 2012

     3:31 PM 

    PPP: Baldwin leads Thompson by four points

    The latest poll from Public Policy Polling shows U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin leading former Gov. Tommy Thompson by a four-point margin.

    The poll, conducted over Tuesday and Wednesday with 842 likely Wisconsin voters, has Baldwin with 49 percent of the vote compared to Thompson's 45 percent. That's a nine-percentage-point swing from the last poll a month ago.

    Baldwin's favorability rating jumped from 40 percent to 44 percent, though her unfavorability remained at 45 percent. In contrast, Thompson's favorability ratings dropped from 46 percent to 43 percent, while his unfavorability has jumped from 42 percent to 50 percent.

    -- By Jason Smathers

     10:10 AM 

    Rasmussen: Baldwin 49, Thompson 46

    The latest survey from Rasmussen Reports found Dem Tammy Baldwin leading Republican Tommy Thompson in the U.S. Senate race 49 percent to 46 percent.

    Two percent of those surveyed preferred another candidate, while 4 percent were undecided.

    The automated phone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Monday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

    The last Rasmussen poll in mid-August, taken shortly after Thompson won the GOP primary and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, was picked for the presidential ticket, had Thompson leading Baldwin 54-43.

    -- By JR Ross

    Thursday, September 20, 2012

     6:07 PM 

    NBC/WSJ/Marist: Obama 50, Romney 45; Baldwin 48, Thompson 46

    A new NBC News/The Wall Street Journal/Marist poll out this evening has Barack Obama up on Mitt Romney in Wisconsin 50 percent to 45 percent among likely voters.

    One percent of respondents backed someone else, while 4 percent were undecided.

    Among registered voters, Obama led 51-43.

    In the U.S. Senate race, Dem Tammy Baldwin edged Tommy Thompson 48-46 among likely voters, while her advantage was 49-44 among registered voters.

    The poll of 968 likely voters was conducted Sept. 16-18 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. The sample of 1,295 registered voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. The survey included those with landlines and cell phones.

    Forty-eight percent of likely voters approve of Obama's job performance, while 46 percent disapprove. His favorability split was 51-44 among likely voters, while Romney's was 43-46.

    Romney had a 46-45 edge among likely voters on who would do a better job on the economy, while Obama had a 51-40 advantage on foreign policy.

    Among likely voters, 33 percent identified themselves as Dems, 28 percent Republicans and 38 percent independents. With leaners, the breakdown was 46 percent Dem, 42 percent Republican and 12 percent who said they were just independents.

    -- By JR Ross

     2:42 PM 

    Ann Romney optimistic about GOP ticket's chances in Wisconsin

    Ann Romney, the wife of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, told a crowd at Marquette University in Milwaukee she thinks her husband can carry the state.

    “You guys did it, you did the hard work here in Wisconsin," Ann Romney said of Gov. Scott Walker's win in the June recall election.

    “I know we can do it again.”

    She recounted a story about her husband visiting with the son of a member of their church in Massachusetts who was in the hospital battling leukemia. She said the 14-year old boy asked her husband to help him write a will and to speak at his funeral.

    “This to me is how we measure a person, is how we care for one another," Ann Romney said.

    “We know what Mitt cares about, Mitt cares about people.”

    Speaking in front of a large “Women for Mitt” banner, Romney noted the prevalence of women in her husband's administration when he was governor of Massachusetts. She introduced some of them to the crowd, noting the role they had played in job creation.

    -- By Arthur Thomas
    For WisPolitics.com

     2:21 PM 

    U.S. Chamber of Commerce targets Baldwin for Medicare cuts, "public option" support

    A new ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hammers U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Tammy Baldwin for her votes on Medicare and support for a "public option."

    The 30-second ad, titled "Voted to cut Medicare", begins by featuring a woman portraying Baldwin sitting down at her desk to listen to her voice mail.

    "Does it make you mad Tammy Baldwin voted to cut 716 billion from Medicare?" the narrator chimes in, as the voicemail messages deride Baldwin for her various positions. "Can you believe even supported the wildly unpopular public option? Wisconsin families and seniors deserve better."

    The ad then shows "Baldwin" writing down "more taxes" while furiously erasing more critical messages on her voice mail.

    The ad notes that it was endorsed by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

    -- By Jason Smathers

     1:05 PM 

    New Tammy ad hits Thompson for opposing 'Buffett Rule'

    A new TV ad from U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin highlights her sponsorship of the so-called "Buffett Rule" and slams U.S. Senate challenger Tommy Thompson's opposition to the measure.

    The 30-second TV ad, titled "Rules," begins with Baldwin saying she doesn't believe there should be two different sets of rules: "One for the wealthy and one for the rest of us."

    She then highlights her role in the crafting the so-called Buffett Rule, which would require millionaires to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent. She then chastises Thompson for opposing the measure.

    "And he's proposed even more tax breaks for millionaires," Baldwin says. "But his plan would raise taxes on the middle class. That's just wrong."

    Baldwin ends her ad by saying "Wisconsin needs a senator who'll stand up for you."

    -- By Jason Smathers

     11:33 AM 

    Rasmussen: Obama 49, Romney 46

    President Obama has a narrow lead on Mitt Romney in the latest poll from Rasmussen Reports.

    The survey found 49 percent of respondents backed Obama, while 46 percent supported Romney. Two percent favored another candidate.

    The results represent some movement from the firm's last poll in mid-August shortly after U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, was added to the GOP ticket as Romney's running mate. In that survey, 48 percent of respondents backed Romney, while 47 percent supported Obama.

    Rasmussen said Obama had a clear advantage among those surveyed on who they trust more for issues such as health care, national security, taxes and energy policy. Obama also led 49-45 on who they trusted more in handling the economy.

    The president's job approval rating was 51 percent, while 49 percent disapprove. Meanwhile, Romney was viewed favorably by 48 percent and unfavorably by 51 percent. In the last poll, his split was 54-44.

    Romney led among male voters 49-45, but trailed among women 53-44, and Obama led 44-41 among those not affiliated with either major political party.

    The automated phone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted Monday. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

    -- By JR Ross

     11:06 AM 

    PPP: Obama 52, Romney 45

    Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely Wisconsin voters 52 percent to 45 percent in the latest survey from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

    It's the largest lead the president has had in the firm's surveys since February. Its last two polls had the two candidates separated by a single point.

    The automated phone survey of 842 likely voters was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday, the first poll out this week that went into the field after Romney’s comments about 47 percent of voters supporting the president no matter what because they are dependent upon government and consider themselves victims.

    Eighty-six percent of those polled said they were familiar with the remarks, and 53 percent considered them inappropriate, compared to 40 percent who viewed them as appropriate. Among independents, 39 percent said the comments made them less likely vote for Romney, compared to 20 percent who considered them a positive. The president led 52-43 among independents in the survey.

    Obama’s approval rating split was 52-47, up from 46-50 a month ago, and voters trust Obama more on the economy (51-46) and foreign policy (52-44).

    Dems are also starting to match the enthusiasm of Republicans with 65 percent saying they’re “very excited” about voting this fall compared to 63 percent of Republicans saying the same.

    Meanwhile, voters in the poll were split on GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan of Janesville with 48 percent rating him favorably and 47 percent saying they had an unfavorable opinion of him. In August, his split was 49-45.

    The poll's margin of error was plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

    -- By JR Ross

     10:03 AM 

    New Thompson ad frames election as 'choice' over government spending

    A new ad from U.S. Senate candidate and former Gov. Tommy Thompson says that the election is a choice between expanding or shrinking the size of government.

    The 30-second TV ad, titled "Decision," begins with Thompson saying that voters have an "important choice"  to make in November between "two very different visions for America."

    "My opponent supports the government take over of health care and wants to expand government with higher taxes and more spending," Thompson says, as the screen displays newspaper headlines regarding opponent and U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin's proximity to "Government-run health care" and the rising national debt.

    Thompson then says he'll cut spending, keep taxes low and repeal ObamaCare.

    Thompson ends by saying he's "ready to lead the fight to reform Washington."

    -- By Jason Smathers

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

     1:17 PM 

    DSCC ad rips Thompson over middle class taxes, 'special interest' tax breaks

    The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee today announced a new ad charging that GOP Senate candidate Tommy Thompson supports middle class tax hikes to fund tax breaks for his "special interest friends."

    The spot says the former governor "refuses to release his taxes" while supporting "raising taxes on the middle class."

    "A thousand a year to pay for tax breaks for Thompson’s special interest friends: high-flying millionaires, oil companies, and outsourcing corporations," an announcer continues as the ad shows a jet, then scrolls through footage of well-dressed people drinking and smoking cigars.

    "Tommy Thompson: putting special interests ahead of us," the spot ends.

    -- By Andy Szal

     1:11 PM 

    Marquette: Obama leads Romney 54-40, Baldwin up on Thompson 50-41

    The latest Marquette University Law School poll has the presidential and U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin swinging strongly toward the Dem candidates.

    The poll found President Obama leading Mitt Romney 54 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, compared to a 49-46 Obama edge in the last survey, which was taken shortly after the selection of Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, for the presidential ticket.

    Likewise, the survey found Dem Tammy Baldwin leading Republican Tommy Thompson 50-41, a reversal from the August poll, which had the former guv up by the same margin. That survey was taken in the days after Thompson won the state’s GOP primary.

    The live surveys of 601 likely voters, using landlines and cell phones, was conducted Sept. 13-16 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

    Pollster Charles Franklin said there were two significant shifts in the poll compared to August. One, independents swung toward the Dem candidates. In the presidential race, Obama increased his lead among independents from 45-43 in August to 53-38 in the latest poll. In the Senate race, independents favored Thompson 47-37 in August, but now back Baldwin 50-38.

    Secondly, the survey had a bump in the percentage of voters describing themselves as Dems. This survey had a partisan breakdown of 34 percent Democrats and 27 percent Republicans. The series of polls down for the school have had an average of 32 percent Democrats and 30 percent Republicans.

    Franklin said that shift could be attributed to two things. One is the possibility there was more enthusiasm on the Democratic side than among Republicans following the national conventions.

    The second could be a random sample error. Still, Franklin said if the latest survey was adjusted to reflect the balance in past polls, it would not change Obama and Baldwin leading their opponents. Obama would still be up 51-43, while Baldwin would lead 48-43.

    -- By JR Ross

     11:26 AM 

    Pro-Romney PAC starts new TV ad in Wisconsin

    The pro-Mitt Romney super PAC Restore Our Future is up in Wisconsin with a new TV ad knocking the president on the unemployment rate.

    The narrator opens the spot saying millions of Americans are disappearing from the workforce because they can’t find jobs and the overall unemployment rate doesn’t count them. The narrator goes on to say 8 million have dropped out of the work force since Barack Obama became president. Counting them and those who can’t find full-time jobs, the “real unemployment rate is nearly 19 percent.”

    The ad then cuts to a news anchor saying, “This is the worst economic recovery America has ever had.”

    The narrator then closes the spot, “Looking forward to a second Obama term?”

    -- By JR Ross

     10:21 AM 

    Ribble ad: 'Count on me to protect Medicare'

    U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble today announced a new TV ad telling voters they can "count on me to protect Medicare."

    The Sherwood Republican opens the spot speaking to the camera, saying politicians are locked in a "full-scale war" over the program and engaged in a "mindless and dishonest political game."

    Ribble says while seniors depend on Medicare, the program is "on a path to bankruptcy," charging that President Obama "cut $700 billion from Medicare to pay for his health care law."

    "If we don't save Medicare, every generation will suffer," Ribble says.

    -- By Andy Szal

     8:08 AM 

    Ryan releases second TV ad

    Paul Ryan is airing another TV ad in the Milwaukee and Madison markets as he runs for vice president and his 1st CD seat.

    The ad "Right Solutions" shows Ryan inside a Janesville factory in jeans and safety glasses talking with voters about solutions for the economy.

    A woman asks, "What can be done to create good jobs?"

    Then Ryan, talking to several plant workers, says, “First, we need to end the growing government control over the economy, and when we put higher tax rates on American job creators than our foreign competitors do, we push jobs overseas.

    “We need to fix that and make our tax code fair, simple and more competitive. We should balance the budget and eliminate ridiculous regulations that cost you money.

    “With the right solutions, we can get this economy growing.”

    -- By Staff

     7:06 AM 

    Quinnipiac/New York Times/CBS poll has Obama up 51-45, Senate race even

    President Obama has regained his lead over Mitt Romney in Wisconsin, according to the new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times survey.

    It also had the U.S. Senate race dead even.

    The poll found Obama led his Republican opponent 51 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, despite the presence of GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on the ticket. The president held a two-point lead in an Aug. 23 Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times survey after Ryan joined the ticket, and nine points in an Aug. 8 survey prior to the pick. Obama won Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008.

    Obama's job approval was 51 percent, while iindependent voters backed Romney 50–44. Only 7 percent of Obama voters and 6 percent of Romney voters say they might change their mind.  

    In the Senate race, Dem Tammy Baldwin and Republican Tommy Thompson registered 47 percent in the poll, compared to a 50–44 Thompson lead in the group's last survey following the Aug. 14 GOP primary. Independent voters backed Thompson 50–42.

    The poll was done Sept. 11-17, with 1,485 likely voters interviewed live via land line and cell phones. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. 

    -- By Staff

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012

     10:13 PM 

    Obama's Saturday rally will be at Summerfest grounds

    Barack Obama's campaign has announced the president's Saturday rally in Milwaukee will be at the Summerfest grounds.

    The event will be free, but those wishing to attend must obtain a ticket. Those will be available beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Obama campaign offices around Milwaukee.

    Doors for the event open at 2:30 p.m.

    The president has a 1 p.m. fundraiser planned that day at the Milwaukee Theater.

    -- By JR Ross

     4:29 PM 

    Wis Dems knock Romney on '47 percent' comments

    Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and state Dem Chair Mike Tate today knocked Mitt Romney for his comments that 47 percent of Americans are dependent upon government and believe they are “victims.”

    The Dems charged the comments show Romney lacks the judgment to be president and has a disdain for seniors, working families, students, people with disabilities and soldiers in combat zones who don’t pay federal taxes.

    “He paints this picture that he’s entitled to have lower taxes, but somehow working people in this country should be paying higher taxes. He and the people who are closest to him view the vast majority of people in America as not worthy to them,” Barrett said. “Where it comes from, I don’t know. But it certainly is a patronizing and insulting attitude.”

    The conference call was one of several events the Obama campaign coordinated around the country to criticize Romney for the comments from a spring fundraiser that were recorded and made public yesterday.

    Romney defended the remarks late last night and today, and the campaign issued a statement from communications director Gail Gitcho in response to the Dem events.

    "Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy,” Gitcho said. “As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney's plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs."

     -- By JR Ross

     11:59 AM 

    Walker calls 33rd SD special election for December

    Gov. Scott Walker today called a special election for Dec. 4 to fill the vacant 33rd Senate District.

    The primary will coincide with the November general election.

    Freshman GOP state Reps. Paul Farrow of Pewaukee and Chris Kapenga of Delafield have announced bids for the seat, which was vacated by Republican Rich Zipperer last month when he resigned to take over as deputy chief of staff in the governor's office.

    The heavily Republican district includes Waukesha, Pewaukee, Delafield and Hartland.

    -- By Andy Szal

     9:32 AM 

    DCCC ad accuses Duffy of wanting to 'gut Medicare'

    The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee today announced a new TV ad criticizing U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy over his votes on Medicare and health care for members of Congress.

    "You paid into Medicare every paycheck; you earned it," an announcer begins in the ad. "But Sean Duffy wants to gut Medicare, force seniors to negotiate with the big insurance companies, and pay over six thousand more a year."

    The ad then says Duffy voted for perks "like taxpayer-funded health care for life" for congressmen.

    "Sean Duffy: Putting himself ahead of us," the spot ends.

    -- By Andy Szal

     9:17 AM 

    Crossroads GPS spending $961,000 on weeklong ad run knocking Baldwin

    The conservative group Crossroads GPS says it is spending $961,000 over the next week on a new TV ad that brands Dem Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin as what's wrong with Washington.

    The spot opens with video of Baldwin giving a speech and saying, “Damn right, we’re making a difference.” The narrator then asks, “Tired of all the shouting?”

    The ad the shows images from the protests in the state Capitol last year as the narrator says Baldwin is out of touch with Wisconsin, thinks “Obamacare didn’t go far enough in putting government in control of our health care,” wants Medicare cuts decided by “unelected bureaucrats” and supports more taxes on middle-class families.

    “Bigger government, extreme politics,” the narrator says as the ad goes back to images of the protests. “Tammy Baldwin is what’s wrong with Washington.”

    The spot concludes by replaying Baldwin saying, “You’re damn right.”

    Crossroads says the ad began today and will run on cable and broadcast TV.

    -- By JR Ross

     11:17 AM 

    PPP polls finds Obama edging Romney, Baldwin up on Thompson

    President Barack Obama just edges Mitt Romney, while Tammy Baldwin is up on Tommy Thompson in a new poll the Dem firm Public Policy Polling did for Democracy for America.

    Forty-nine percent of those surveyed backed Obama, while 48 percent supported Romney.

    In the U.S. Senate race, Baldwin was backed by 48 percent of respondents, while 45 percent supported Thompson.

    The poll found 53 percent of respondents had a negative impression of Thompson, while 40 percent had a favorable view of him. It found Baldwin's favorable-unfavorable split was 44-45.

    The survey also found 90 percent of respondents were committed to their choice in the Senate race.

    The automated phone survey of 959 likely voters was conducted Wednesday and Thursday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.16 percentage points.

    PPP tweeted this morning it will have another poll this week on Wisconsin of its own in addition to the one conducted last week for DFA.

    -- By JR Ross

     9:20 AM 

    NRCC knocks Kreitlow on government takeover of health care in new TV ad

    The National Republican Congressional Committee is up with a new TV ad in the 7th CD that says Dem Pat Kreitlow supported a government takeover of health care.

    The spot opens with a shot of the U.S. Capitol as the narrator says before “Washington gave us Obamacare,” Kreitlow supported a government takeover of health care in Wisconsin. The shot changes to a picture of the Wisconsin Capitol with Kreitlow’s image imposed over it.

    The announcer says the state plan would have been paid with a $15 billion payroll tax, a 10 percent tax on employers and a 4 percent tax on workers, adding it would have been the largest tax increase in Wisconsin history.

    “Government takeover of health care, paid for by higher taxes,” the narrator says to close the spot at it changes from an image of the Wisconsin Capitol to the U.S. Capitol with Kreitlow’s image imposed over it.

    “Pat Kreitlow, he’d fit right in, in Washington.”

    -- By JR Ross

     7:00 AM 

    Baldwin poll has her up on Thompson in Senate race

    Polling done for Tammy Baldwin’s campaign has the Madison Dem leading GOP rival Tommy Thompson in their U.S. Senate race.

    Baldwin was backed by 50 percent of respondents in the survey conducted Sept. 9-12, while Thompson was favored by 45 percent, according to a memo on the poll prepared by The Feldman Group.

    The results were reversed from August polling done for the campaign. That survey found 50 percent backed Thompson, while 44 percent favored Baldwin. Independent polling in August after the Republican primary also had Thompson up by as many as 9 percentage points.

    The new Baldwin polling memo said Thompson’s negatives have gone up since he got a post-primary bounce in August. His favorable ratings were 45 percent in each of the campaign’s previous two surveys. But it fell to 39 percent in the latest poll, while his unfavorable rating was up to 46 percent.

    The memo attributes the drop to "advertising on his special interest ties," referring to negative campaigning from Baldwin and liberal groups targeting Thompson. The memo also says Baldwin has gained support in each of the media markets where she and her allies are on the air, but not in the Minnesota markets that penetrate Wisconsin, where they aren't running ads.

    According to the memo from the Feldman Group, 800 interviews were conducted Sept. 9-12, and the sample was pulled from voters who had participated in the 2008 or 2010 elections or who had registered since that time and were likely to vote this fall. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, a Baldwin spokesman said.

    Thirty-four percent of those surveyed described themselves as Democrats, while 28 percent said they were Republicans and 34 percent independents.

    -- By JR Ross

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

     6:47 PM 

    Baldwin takes aim at Thompson during Fighting Bob Fest

    U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin took aim at GOP rival Tommy Thompson Saturday as she spoke to the annual Fighting Bob Fest, lumping him in with several Wisconsin Republicans she said are focused on the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

    Baldwin laid out for the crowd the Wisconsin she said she knows and the one she said she had a chance to highlight in her Democratic National Convention speech last week. 

    She contrasted that Wisconsin with the one presented at the Republican National Convention by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, Gov. Scott Walker and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. She later included Thompson in the group when she talked about the Republican vision for the economy.

    “[They] believe we should be cutting taxes for millionaires and billionaires. They would provide budget-busting tax cuts for those at the very top while cutting the very important investments that we need to prosper,” Baldwin said.

    Baldwin also described Thompson as one focused on special interests instead of the middle class, with references to his “sweetheart deals” for drug companies and his support of repealing Wall Street reforms pushed by President Barack Obama. Baldwin emphasized she is the right candidate for the middle class and said she is “betting on Wisconsin workers.”

    Throughout her speech, Baldwin praised Bob LaFollette and called his fight one that continues today with a struggling middle class. 

    “It’s not our work ethic that’s changed. I submit it’s the rules—who writes them and for whose benefit,” she said. “That’s what ‘Fighting Bob LaFollette’ was all about, making sure that the peoples’ voice was always heard in our democracy.”

    The annual event drew a series of progressive speakers to Madison, including U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who defined the Republican strategy as one that seeks to divide the different factions of the Democratic Party. 

    Moore said Republicans are trying to divide the party by race, nationality, gender and age. She called on the different groups in the “family” to “stick together.” 

    “In this election, they are definitely trying to separate and break up the family, but we ain’t going. We ain’t divorcing each other,” she said.

    Ryan’s budget was a large part of her speech, and she said it “decimates” Pell grants and pits the elderly against the young with changes to Medicare. Addressing the elderly in the crowd, she said, “They want people over 55 to throw younger people over the bus. Elderly people, are we leaving the family?”

    The festival took place the day after Dane County Circuit Court Judge Juan B. Colas ruled limits to collective bargaining for many public employees was unconstitutional.

    Despite Walker winning the recall election in June, Moore said the law’s opponents were “rising like a phoenix” last night as they celebrated Colas’ ruling.

    Green Party presidential candidate Dr. Jill Stein outlined her plan for the country to the audience. She said her Green New Deal is a multi-faceted solution to the nation’s problems, including election and campaign reform, free public education through college, health care for all, and a jobs strategy focused on renewable energy. 

    Throughout her speech, Stein criticized both Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as politicians who are influenced too much by corporations and said an independent party was needed to solve the problems the country faces.

    “People are breaking away from the establishment politics that got us here in record numbers, which means we can make this election a powerful tipping point to take back the promise of democracy and the peaceful, just, green future we deserve,” she said.

    Stein, whose campaign is based in Madison, criticized Obama for not coming to Wisconsin during the protests last year and said her campaign aimed to take Wisconsin’s protest spirit last year and “make it national.”

    -- By Polo Rocha
    For WisPolitics.com

    Friday, September 14, 2012

     3:04 PM 

    Obama starts new ad in TV buy, knocking Romney on China

    President Obama's campaign today released a fourth ad in its TV buy for Wisconsin, this one knocking Mitt Romney on China.

    The spot opens with Romney telling a group that, "It’s time to stand up to the cheaters and make sure we protect jobs for the American people."

    The narrator cuts in, "Mitt Romney? Tough on China?"

    The narrator goes on to say Romney's companies were called "pioneers" in shipping U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas, he invested in firms that specialize in sending jobs to low-wage countries like China and "Even today part of Romney’s fortune is invested in China."

    The narrator concludes the spot, "Romney’s never stood up to China. All he’s done is send them our jobs."

    The Obama campaign says the spot is running in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

    -- By JR Ross

     12:44 PM 

    GAB: 2012 recall elections cost $13.5 million

    The GAB reported today the May and June recall elections that targeted Gov. Scott Walker and four state Senate seats cost $13.5 million to put on with most of those costs picked up by local taxpayers.

    The May primaries cost $6.3 million, including $2.3 million in poll worker wages and $1.7 million in staff salaries. The agency reported ballots cost $728,000, while programming cost $617,000.

    The June general elections cost nearly $7.2 million, including $2.5 million for poll workers, $1.9 million in staff salaries, $984,000 for ballots and $617,000 for programming.

    By comparison, the April spring election, which included Wisconsin's presidential primary, cost taxpayers $7.6 million, including $2.2 million for poll worker wages, $1.9 million in staff salaries, $957,000 for ballots and $771,000 for programming.

    “Instead of conducting two primaries and two elections this year, Wisconsin election officials will be conducting six elections, which added approximately $13.5 million in unbudgeted costs,” GAB Director Kevin Kennedy said. “These unplanned elections also put significant stress on Wisconsin’s clerks, who have many other duties beyond elections.”

    The Legislature asked the Government Accountability Board to collect information on how much it cost to put on the recall elections. Elections Division Administrator Nat Robinson cautioned local clerks have used different methods in figuring their costs and the totals had not been audited.

    In addition to putting on the elections, it cost the GAB $663,000 to process the recall petitions and prepare for the elections. That was less than the $975,000 the agency originally estimated it would spend on the process.

    -- By JR Ross

     11:14 AM 

    Obama ad targets Romney on abortion, Planned Parenthood

    The Obama Campaign has added a new TV spot to its previously announced ad buy in Wisconsin -- this one targeting GOP nominee Mitt Romney over his position on abortion.

    “Every woman who believes decisions about our bodies and our health care should be our own is troubled Mitt Romney supports overturning Roe versus Wade," an announcer says to open the ad, charging that Romney "backed a law that outlaws all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest."

    The spot then shows footage of Romney saying he'll "cut off funding to Planned Parenthood," and closes with the former Massachusetts governor saying, "Planned Parenthood -- we’re going to get rid of that.”

    “For women, Planned Parenthood means life-saving cancer screenings and family-planning services," the announcer says.

    -- By Andy Szal

     10:38 AM 

    Obama to do grassroots event in Milwaukee Sept. 22 along with fundraiser

    President Obama plans to speak to a grassroots event Sept. 22 while he's in Milwaukee, a campaign source said today.

    News broke yesterday that the president plans to hold a fundraiser in Milwaukee that includes opportunities for donors to give from $250 to attend a reception up to $2,500 for a roundtable discussion with Obama that includes an update on the campaign.

    The source said details of the president's campaign travel to Wisconsin next weekend will be released later.

    -- By JR Ross

     9:51 AM 

    Wall ad hits Ribble on Medicare

    8th CD Dem candidate Jamie Wall has announced a new TV ad referencing a line in former President Bill Clinton's speech to last week's Democratic National Convention.

    "It's a shame," Wall says into the camera to begin the ad. "Reid Ribble and his friends in Washington are attacking me."

    An announcer then echoes Clinton's line that "it takes brass to falsely attack someone for something you did."

    "It was Congressman Reid Ribble who voted to cut Medicare by 716 billion dollars -- not once, but twice," the announcer continues. "And Congressman Ribble also called Social Security a Ponzi scheme that should be phased out."

    The spot ends with the Green Bay business consultant saying, "Instead of misleading attacks, we need to bring people together to solve our problems."

    -- By Andy Szal

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

     4:11 PM 

    Biden hits downtown cafe as part of Eau Claire visit

    As part of his visit to Eau Claire, Vice President Joe Biden stopped at the Acoustic Café downtown, interacting with most of the patrons in the restaurant.

    Biden stopped to chat with a young couple that had a baby with them as they sat at an outside table on a sunny day, according to a pool report. Biden told them of his own children and grandchildren while warning them kids tend to pull back from their parents in their teens.

    “But they all come back at about 18 or 21,” he reassured them.

    Biden was greeted with a huge cheer when he entered the café.

    “You going to win tonight?” he asked Dewey Britt, an Altoona man who was sporting a Packers shirt on the day of Green Bay’s game with the Chicago Bears.

    “You betcha,” Britt responded.

    Britt said Biden went on to explain that when he was in college the Packers were everybody’s second favorite team because he had a professor who excused them from a class after each Green Bay win.

    Biden sat down with three out-of-town visitors — Donna Hoel of Minneapolis, Elizabeth Bishop of Andover, Minn., and Mary Harlow of Spokane, Wash.

    “All you wanted was a sandwich and you got stuck with the vice president,” Biden said with a laugh before signing autographs for the women.

    “It was wonderful,” Hoel said of their brush with the nation’s second-highest-ranking official.

    “He’s very personable,” Harlow added.

    Biden posed for photos 8-year-old Noah Olson of Altoona and wrote him a note for his teacher after asking about his school, Pedersen Elementary.

    “To Noah — Please ask Mrs. Fleming to excuse you today — Joe Biden,” the note read.

    Biden later sat in a booth with friends Kelly Forster and Melissa Ludy of Chippewa Falls about the importance of supporting military troops and their families.

    “We’re proud, passionate Democrats. This is a huge day for us,” Ludy said.

    “Biden and Obama put forward the policies we believe in,” Forster said.

    The vice president later went to the counter and ordered a turkey sandwich with provolone cheese and sliced tomatoes. He offered to buy a sandwich for Pauline Schultz of Chippewa Falls, but was told she had already paid.

    After sitting down to eat his sandwich, Biden earned a final cheer as he returned to the waiting limousine.

    -- By Staff

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