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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


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