• WisPolitics

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

 9:00 PM 

Katy Perry to join Obama at Milwaukee rally

President Obama's campaign announced Katy Perry will perform at his Saturday rally in Milwaukee.

The campaign also announced the event will be held at the Delta Convention Center.

-- By JR Ross

 3:55 PM 

Obama to campaign Saturday in Milwaukee

President Obama, who will campaign tomorrow in Green Bay, is returning to Milwaukee on Saturday, his campaign said.

Details of the visit were not immediately available.

-- By JR Ross

 3:51 PM 

Duffy ad: Kreitlow a 'pretend lumberjack'

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy's congressional campaign has released a TV ad charging that Dem opponent Pat Kreitlow "loves to pretend he's a lumberjack."

"He's also pretending to fight for the middle class," an announcer says as footage of the Dem Kreitlow's previous TV ads rolls on the screen.

The Weston Republican's spot then says the former state senator from Chippewa Falls supported "the largest middle-class tax increase in Wisconsin's history" and "took a taxpayer-funded pay raise for himself."

"Pat Kreitlow may be a pretend lumberjack, but his tax hikes are real, and they hurt the middle class," the announcer says to close the ad.

-- By Andy Szal

 1:32 PM 

Ryan says Romney's leadership skills needed to turn country around

GREEN BAY -- With the presidential election less than a week away, Republican vice president candidate Paul Ryan told a crowd of more than 600 supporters gathered at a Green Bay area business that they "need to do everything they can" to turn the country around and put Mitt Romney in the White House.

"We offer a true choice to Americans," said Ryan, a congressman from Janesville. "We know what needs to be done to turn the country around and offer the leadership to do it. Europe is what happens when you don't have solid leadership. There's no economic growth."

Ryan said Obama had his opportunities to make real changes – including the first two years of his term when Democrats controlled Congress – but failed to do so.

"Since then, he's just been running for re-election. But Tuesday's election isn't just about the next four years, it's really about the country's future. Do we want to place this heavy debt burden on our children and grandchildren? It's not too late to get it right. If you elect me and Governor Romney, we're going to get this country back on the right track."

Ryan's rally -- which was the second of the day as he traveled around the state -- was held at FulfillNet, which provides fulfillment and direct marketing services to companies across the country.

"This company was started by its owners in their garage and today it employs 40 people," he said. "They are living the American dream. They built this business, but if Obama is re-elected, businesses like this will suffer since they'll need to pay higher taxes, which only hurt job creation."

Wearing a red Wisconsin Badger jacket, Ryan said he was happy to be back at home and that Wisconsin voters have shown their dedication with the 2010 election of Scott Walker and holding off the recall challenge against him earlier this year.

"Wisconsin voters sent a message to the rest of the nation about what government should be doing and we can send another message next Tuesday by making sure Wisconsin is in Mitt's column," he said.

Ryan encouraged supporters to vote early and then get out the word about Romney's plans and history of strong leadership to everyone they know, encouraging them to support the Republican ticket.

"We aren't just talking about paycheck issues here. We are talking about whether or not we're going to be able to pass on our American ideals to our children and grandchildren," he said. "We won't run away from problems or blame someone else for them. We'll tackle them straight on. Mitt's got the strong principles and leadership skills to do just that."

-- By MaryBeth Matzek
For WisPolitics.com

 1:19 PM 

Baldwin poll has her up on Thompson 48-45

The latest poll conducted for Tammy Baldwin's Senate campaign has her up on Tommy Thompson 48 percent to 45 percent.

A memo on the latest results say those numbers have been fairly static over the last two weeks in Baldwin's polling, which had her up 48-44 Oct. 17, 49-44 Oct. 22 and 47-44 Oct. 28.

The memo says 50 percent of respondents had an unfavorable view of Thompson due to her portrayal of him as "not for you anymore" and argued his attacks on her over natural security have not changed the dynamics in the race.

The survey of 800 likely voters was conducted Sunday through Tuesday by The Feldman Group Inc. using professional interviewers and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points. Nineteen percent of respondents were reached on their cell phones.

Thirty-two percent of those polled identified themselves as Democrats, 24 percent Republicans and 40 percent independents.

-- By JR Ross

 12:40 PM 

Marquette: Obama 51, Romney 43; Baldwin 47, Thompson 43

The latest Marquette University Law School poll found a shift toward President Obama and Tammy Baldwin compared to the last survey two weeks ago.

In the presidential race, the survey found Obama up on Mitt Romney 51 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. In the last poll, the two were about even with Obama at 49 percent and Romney at 48 percent.

In the Senate race, the survey found Baldwin up on Tommy Thompson 47-43. The last poll had it 46 percent for Thompson and 45 for Baldwin.

In both races, a shift among independents largely accounted for the change in the numbers compared to the last poll.

In the poll two weeks ago, which was done following the first presidential debate, Romney led independents 49-45. In the latest poll, which included the final two presidential debates as well, Obama led among independents 46-41.

The poll also found 58 percent believed Obama won the final debate, compared to 31 percent who believed Romney did.

In the Senate, Thompson led among independents in the last poll 44-41. The latest survey had a 45-39 advantage for Baldwin.

The survey of 1,243 likely voters was conducted Thursday through Sunday using live interviews. About 30 percent of the sample was reached via cell phone, and the margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

Among those surveyed, 34 percent said they were Dems, 29 percent said they were Republicans and 36 percent independents.

-- By JR Ross

 11:19 AM 

League of Conservation Voters puts out two new ads supporting Baldwin

The League of Conservation Voters has announced a $1 million ad buy with two new ads that support Tammy Baldwin.

The first 30-second TV ad, titled "Cash," starts with a photo of Thompson next to the D.C. Capitol building, while a narrator says that Thompson "cashed in" when he went to Washington by "peddling influence for special interests."

"But now Tommy wants to go back as a senator, promising to protect their tax breaks, paid for by the middle class," the narrator says.

The ad then shifts to a positive depiction of Baldwin, saying she'll fight "special interest corruption" and fight for the middle class. The ad ends with the tagline "Tammy Baldwin: Always for us."

The second 30-second TV ad, titled "Allies," starts by highlighting "thousands of new energy jobs" created President Barack Obama and Tammy Baldwin. The narrator also says that Baldwin and Obama doubled the mileage standards for cars and doubled the production of clean energy.

"Now, President Obama needs an ally in the Senate," the narrator says. "And we need Tammy Baldwin. She'll end tax breaks for big oil, fight to hold polluters accountable and stop big corporations from sending jobs overseas."

The ad ends with the line,"Vote for Tammy and let's move Wisconsin forward."

"Cash" is running in the Milwaukee media market while "Allies" is running in the Madison media market.

-- By Jason Smathers

 9:56 AM 

Clinton to campaign tomorrow in Waukesha for Obama

Former President Bill Clinton, slated to campaign today in Eau Claire, will also make a stop tomorrow in Waukesha, the Obama campaign announced today.

Details of the event were not immediately available.

-- By JR Ross

 7:54 AM 

PPP: Obama 51, Romney 46

The latest survey from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling has President Obama up on Mitt Romney in Wisconsin 51 percent to 46 percent.

That’s largely unchanged from the 51-45 split the firm found in its last poll.

The survey, conducted for Health Care for American Now, found 52 percent of likely voters had a favorable impression of Obama while 46 percent had an unfavorable opinion of him. Fifty percent also approved of the job Obama is doing, while 47 percent disapproved.

Romney’s favorable split was 47-49.

The automated phone survey of 825 likely voters was conducted Monday and Tuesday and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Thirty-four percent of respondents identified themselves as Dems, 39 percent Republicans, and 36 percent independents or other. 

-- By JR Ross

 7:00 AM 

Ryan says in latest TV ad time to put taxpayers back in charge

Paul Ryan says in the latest TV ad for his congressional campaign that it's time to put "hardworking taxpayers back in charge."

The spot, which will air in Madison and Milwaukee for the next week, shows Ryan and his family with his kids playing on a swing set.

"Janna and I tell our kids that America is a place where if you work hard and play by the rules, you can get ahead," Ryan says. "It’s our duty to save the American Dream for our kids so it’s time to stop the backroom deals for special interests and the politically connected in Washington. You’re sick and tired of it, and I am too.”

Ryan closes the spot, saying "Every American deserves the opportunity to achieve and earn their own success. It’s time to put hardworking taxpayers back in charge. After all, it’s your government."

-- By JR Ross

 6:36 AM 

Romney reschedules West Allis rally for Friday

Mitt Romney has rescheduled his West Allis rally for Friday, a spokesman said.

The GOP presidential nominee had originally planned the campaign stop for Monday night, but canceled due to Hurricane Sandy. The event will start at 9:30 a.m.

-- By JR Ross

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

 8:23 PM 

Clinton will campaign Wednesday in Eau Claire

The Obama campaign announced tonight that former President Bill Clinton will campaign Wednesday in Eau Claire.

Clinton campaigned on Friday in Green Bay.

-- By JR Ross

 4:11 PM 

Obama to stop Thursday in Green Bay

President Obama, who canceled a planned campaign stop in Green Bay because of Hurricane Sandy, will hit Austin Straubel International Airport for a "tarmac event," according to his website.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m.

UPDATE: A campaign official says Thursday's event is tentative and dependent upon the president's schedule in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

-- By JR Ross

 2:59 PM 

New Thompson ad features Sue Ann Thompson to talk about Tommy's record

A new ad from Tommy Thompson's campaign features his wife Sue Ann, who says both of them have worked to push Wisconsin forward.

The 30-second ad, titled "Sue Ann", begins with Sue Ann saying she and Tommy have spent their lives building Wisconsin "because we truly care."

"We worked to improve health care for women and families," Sue Ann Thompson says. "Tommy created BadgerCare for families in need and led the fight to provide drug benefits for seniors."

Sue Ann Thompson then calls the claims that Thompson has turned his back on Wisconsin "ridiculous" and says "Tommy has always fought for Wisconsin and he always will."

The ad ends with Tommy Thompson's disclaimer while footage of him and Sue Ann walking hand-in-hand plays.

 -- By Jason Smathers

 2:18 PM 

Lee Campaign dismisses volunteer over false attack story

Chad Lee’s 2nd Congressional District campaign says it has dismissed a campaign volunteer who claimed he was attacked because he's a gay Republican.

The man wasn't identified in the original Madison Police Department incident report last week or one posted late Monday afternoon that said the victim in the case recanted his earlier statements. The department said the case will be cleared as “unfounded.”

But Kyle Wood gave an interview last week to a conservative media outlet detailing the alleged attack, and Lee’s campaign identified him in a statement originally decrying the attack. That was followed up in some conservative media with a story that sought to tie the incident to the Mt. Horeb Republican's opponent, Dem Mark Pocan, who's openly gay.

Lee’s campaign issued a statement that it “unfortunately learned that a deeply troubled volunteer misled police, news outlets, and our own team.” The campaign said Wood had been dismissed and it would fully cooperate with authorities as they continue the investigation, but declined further comment.

Pocan Campaign Manager Dan McNally said in a statement that the events "are an example of what is wrong with civility in politics today."

"We hope that those who are responsible for the recent events are quickly brought to justice," McNally said. "We are keeping every option open on legal actions towards organizations and individuals that perpetrated this lie."

-- By Staff

 11:52 AM 

On the road to the Senate with Baldwin, Thompson

WisPolitics.com reporter Jason Smathers spent a day on the campaign trail with U.S. Senate candidates Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson as they entered the final two weeks of their contentious general election campaign.

U.S. Rep. Baldwin, D-Madison, traveled to Janesville and Waukesha on Oct. 20. She focused on turning out the early vote in the Rock County city, where she was joined by retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee.

"In my mind the only poll that matters is the one that culminates on Nov. 6, but it shows some real encouraging news, some momentum in this U.S. Senate race. And we have an edge. We're in a narrow lead," Baldwin told supporters before a day of canvassing. "And we have 17 more days to keep that momentum going."

Thompson, meanwhile, was in the Fox Valley on Oct. 22 for stops in Green Bay and Appleton. He spoke to an audience of more than 100 conservative-leaning women at a Green Bay Women in Politics luncheon, touting his upbringing in Elroy and recalling sitting down with "welfare mothers" at the governor's mansion and offering to help them find a job and end welfare in the state.

"I'm no different than anybody in this room, everybody has a story of how you got to where you are today," the former governor said. "Everybody. And none of you would have that story if you were not born and raised in America."

See complete coverage here.

 9:29 AM 

New American Crossroads ad shifts to pro-Tommy tone after attacking Baldwin

A new ad from Karl Rove-backed American Crossroads starts by framing Tammy Baldwin as extreme before urging voters to consider the "common sense solutions" of Tommy Thompson.

The 30-second ad, titled "No Slate," begins with the clip of Baldwin saying "You're damn right we're making a difference," before the narrator questions whether "extreme" legislators like Baldwin really are making a difference.

"So far, Tammy's voted to raise taxes, to cut 700 billion from Medicare spending, for trillions in new debt and Washington is more broken than ever."

The ad then shifts to a positive look at Tommy Thompson, saying that he "governs the Wisconsin way" and will protect medicare.

The ad ends with the tagline, "Tommy Thompson: The difference Wisconsin deserves."

 -- By Jason Smathers

 9:20 AM 

Baldwin, Thompson release new TV ads

Senate rivals Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson have new TV ads out this morning.

Baldwin's spot features former President Bill Clinton saying one big difference between the Madison Dem and Thompson is “she stood up to the special interests and he stood up for them.”

“If you put people first, it works better than trickle-down economics,” Clinton says as the ad switches between footage from a rally and shots of people, including one scene with Baldwin walking and talking with two women.

“Thanks to Tammy Baldwin, there are 3 million young people under the age of 26 who are now on their parents’ health insurance policy,” Clinton says.

“We will bring American back in a fair, balanced, progressive way. With Tammy Baldwin, you can count on it,” Clinton says as the spot closes with video of him and Baldwin holding hands and waving to the crowd at a rally.

Thompson has a new spot titled knocking Baldwin for raising the debt ceiling and other votes.

"Tammy Baldwin voted to raise the debt ceiling seven times, putting every Wisconsin child $50,000 in debt," the narrator says. "Baldwin voted to waste $800 billion on the stimulus, leaving one in eight Wisconsin workers looking for jobs."

The narrator then says Baldwin voted to cut Medicare for Wisconsin seniors and raise taxes on middle-class families to "pay for the waste."

"Tammy Baldwin hasn't been for Wisconsin, ever," the narrator says to close the spot.

-- By JR Ross

 8:03 AM 

Ryan will also be in Eau Claire Wednesday

Paul Ryan has a third Wisconsin event on his agenda for Wednesday, this one in Eau Claire.

The event will start at 8:35 a.m. and will be held at The Florian Gardens and will be the first of his three stops in Wisconsin that day.

-- By JR Ross

 7:54 AM 

Biden to campaign Friday in Beloit, Superior

President Obama's campaign announced this morning Vice President Joe Biden will campaign Friday in Beloit and Superior.

Details of the trip were not immediately available. Biden was in the state last week for campaign stops as well.

-- By JR Ross

Monday, October 29, 2012

 9:09 PM 

Ryan to stop Tuesday at western Wisconsin Victory Centers

Paul Ryan will stop Tuesday at GOP Victory Centers in La Crosse and Hudson to thank volunteers for collecting items for storm relief efforts.

Ryan's prior campaign plans for Tuesday were canceled due to Hurricane Sandy.

-- By JR Ross

 8:41 PM 

Ann Romney to visit Green Bay on Tuesday

Ann Romney will visit the GOP's Victory Center Tuesday in Green Bay for  storm relief collection efforts.

Romney will follow the visit with three stops later in the day at various Iowa Victory Centers for similar efforts.

-- By JR Ross

 3:35 PM 

New Thompson ad focuses on Wisconsin heritage; still goes negative on Baldwin

A new TV ad from Tommy Thompson talks up his Wisconsin roots before characterizing Tammy Baldwin as a "Washington politician" who is spending money the country doesn't have.

The 30-second ad, titled "Vote," begins with Thompson talking into the camera, saying that "Wisconsin's in my blood."

"My family came here in the 1860s, settling on land that I still farm today," Thompson says.

Thompson then says he's worked with both parties to reform welfare and create new jobs. He then turns his attention to Baldwin.

"But Washington politicians like Tammy Baldwin are destroying our economy and spending our children into debt," Thompson says.

Thompson then says he'll fight for Wisconsin families and "get our economy moving again."

The ad ends with Thompson "asking for your vote."

-- By Jason Smathers

 3:02 PM 

American Future Fund hits Baldwin, Obama on paper regulations in ad

A TV ad from conservative group American Future Fund criticizes Tammy Baldwin and Barack Obama for paper regulations it says will end thousands of Wisconsin jobs.

The 60-second TV ad, titled "Paper," begins focused with a television showing footage of people out of work while voice overs from newscasters talk about the slow economy.

"In these tough times, can Wisconsin afford to lose thousands of jobs?" the narrator asks. "President Obama and Tammy Baldwin seem to think so. The Obama administration's regulations will cost the Wisconsin paper industry $470 million and close 11 paper mills, destroying 7,500 jobs and hurting thousands of families."

The narrator then says that Herb Kohl and Paul Ryan worked together to "fight Obama's attack on Wisconsin jobs" but says Baldwin voted with Obama.

"Our own representative should never put the special interests and the high-priced lobbyists ahead of hard-working Wisconsin taxpayers," the narrator says.

The ad ends with a plea to "protect Wisconsin's paper workers" by voting against Baldwin and Obama.

 -- By Jason Smathers

 12:50 PM 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce hits Baldwin on job creation

A new ad from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce casts Tammy Baldwin as a "serious threat" to American jobs, suggesting that Nancy Pelosi has a better record on job creation.

The 30-second ad, titled "A Serious Threat to Jobs", starts with a narrator saying that Baldwin has been rated the most liberal member of Congress twice. The narrator then says Baldwin voted for "government-run health care," against energy exploration for higher taxes on small business.

"No wonder Baldwin scored a measly 13 percent with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce," the narrator says. "Even Nancy Pelosi scored better." The ad then shows Pelosi scored 27 percent to Baldwin's 13 percent.

The ad then ends with the tagline, "Enough. Defeat Tammy Baldwin."

  -- By Jason Smathers

 11:19 AM 

Romney cancels West Allis campaign stop

Mitt Romney has canceled tonight's campaign event in West Allis "out of sensitivity for the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy," a spokeswoman said.

The statement from Gail Gitcho said Paul Ryan's events in Florida today were also canceled as well as planned events for both candidates tomorrow.

The statement did not mention Ryan's planned stops in Wisconsin on Wednesday with Gitcho saying additional details about their schedules will be provided when they are available. 

-- By JR Ross

 10:57 AM 

Bill Clinton to campaign in Wisconsin this week

President Obama's campaign announced this morning Bill Clinton will return to Wisconsin ahead of next week's election.

Details of the trip were not immediately available. 

Clinton was last in Wisconsin Oct. 19 in Green Bay to do a campaign event for the president.

-- By JR Ross

 9:35 AM 

Baldwin, Thompson up with new TV ads on Iran, 9/11

Tammy Baldwin and Tommy Thompson have new TV ads continuing their negative exchanges over 9/11 and Iran.

Baldwin’s spot opens with a shot of a rock against a black background as the narrator says it’s uranium and Iran “needs it to build a nuclear bomb.”

“It’s now been revealed Tommy Thompson invested in a company that partnered with Iran to mine for uranium, and he invested in another company that’s building Iran’s nuclear reactor.”

The narrator goes on to say Thompson’s “DC lobbying firm” worked with a big oil company to weaken sanctions against Iran.

“Now Tommy Thompson is attacking Tammy Baldwin’s patriotism? He’s not for you anymore,” the narrator says to close the spot. 

In Thompson’s ad, the narrator opens the spot talking about Baldwin’s “shameful campaign falsely attacking Tommy Thompson on 9/11.”

The narrator goes on to say in addition to voting against honoring the victims of 9/11, “she fought to block funding that provides body armor for our troops just to make a political point.”

“Baldwin even voted against tough sanctions on a nuclear Iran while pocketing sixty grand from a radical pro-Iran group,” the narrator says. “Tammy Baldwin is too extreme for Wisconsin.” 

-- By JR Ross

Sunday, October 28, 2012

 9:36 AM 

Rasmussen: Thompson 48, Baldwin 47

The latest Rasmussen Reports survey has Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin neck-and-neck in the U.S. Senate race.

Forty-eight percent of respondents backed Thompson, compared to 47 percent who supported Baldwin. Two percent favored another candidate.

The poll was conducted Thursday, the day before the two met in their third and final debate. A Rasmussen poll taken a week earlier had it Thompson 48, Baldwin 46.

The latest automated phone survey included a sample of 500 likely voters. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

-- By JR Ross

Friday, October 26, 2012

 9:20 PM 

Thompson and Baldwin clash over 9/11, Iran in final Senate debate

MILWAUKEE -- Exchanges on 9/11 and Iran brought a contentious end to a debate between Republican Tommy Thompson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin that had largely been more cordial than their previous encounter.

Thompson said it bothered him that Baldwin voted against a resolution honoring the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Baldwin shot back she was outraged Thompson questioned her patriotism.

Baldwin also took a shot at Thompson for how the Department of Health and Human Services responded to the attacks under his watch as secretary; she charged a company he later headed was able to win an $11 million contract related to the attacks.

"He has personally profited from 9/11 and now he's trying to politically profit from 9/11," she charged.

Thompson insisted he was not questioning her patriotism, but her judgment. He recounted the steps HHS took while he was secretary in responding to the attacks and said he held victims and personally saw the damage of the attacks.

"That bothered me five years after that," Thompson said. "I was there. I saw that. I held those people, and it still to this day haunts me."

The two met tonight at Marquette Law School in the final debate of their U.S. Senate campaign, moderated by Mike Gousha. It was sponsored by Milwaukee's WISN-TV 12 and WisPolitics.com, and produced in partnership with Marquette Law School.

Overall, the debate was less confrontational than their meeting last week and found both candidates attempting to move more toward the center.

Thompson said that his record as governor, which resulted in tax cuts and welfare reforms with a Democratic Legislature, was a sure sign that he'd work with both sides in the Senate. Thompson echoed that theme of bipartisan compromise several times throughout the debate.

Baldwin said she would not call herself a "proud liberal," opting instead for the mantle of a "proud progressive" in the tradition of former Wisconsin Gov. Bob La Follette. She said that she embodies the notion that the average American has a voice in a political atmosphere crowded by powerful special interests.

Repeating a theme from their previous debate, the two again had an exchange over Iran with Thompson questioning Baldwin's judgment in accepting money from a group that opposed sanctions on Iran and charging she flip-flopped on sanctions herself after she decided to run for the Senate. Thompson specifically criticized Baldwin for a vote condemning Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which she voted "present."

Baldwin knocked Thompson again for investments in companies that did business with Iran and mocked his insistence that he did not know about the holdings and that they were handled by his stock broker, telling the crowd he has no room to lecture her on Iran.

Thompson countered Baldwin's own pension fund held similar investments and said she should return the $60,000 in donations from the Council for a Livable World.

Baldwin defended the overall mission of the group, saying it simply supported a cautious approach to nuclear non-proliferation.

"It's a group that says you don't go in with a war first," Baldwin said.

The two again sparred over Medicare as well.

Baldwin again mocked Thompson's claim that he's the architect of the federal governments Medicare Part D prescription drug program, but had nothing to do with a provision banning negotiations over drug prices.

"He had every possibility of saying, 'that's not going to be in there, not on my watch,'" Baldwin said. "He didn't do it."

Thompson shot back that it was originally a Dem idea and that Baldwin voted for it.

Thompson also said that Baldwin has not done anything during her time in Congress to increase the solvency of Medicare.

"That's always been the mantra of my opponent," Thompson said. "Don't do anything and we save Medicare."

Baldwin contested that point, saying that the Affordable Care Act actually extended the solvency of Medicare for 10 years and that Thompson had not done enough during his time as HHS Secretary to protect the program's viability.

Despite the tense climax, the debate contained a few moments of levity earlier in the night.

Thompson repeated his promise to push a tax plan that would include a option for people to fill out a form so simple they could do it during halftime of a Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears football game and still have time to get up for a beer.

Baldwin tweaked Thompson by reminding the crowd that tax season usually doesn't fall during football season. But Thompson nudged back that he was more optimistic than his opponent about the Packers season, reminding the crowd the Super Bowl is in February.

-- By Jason Smathers

Created with flickr slideshow.

 7:49 PM 

Biden hits Kenosha County's Mars Cheese Castle on way to UW-Parkside rally

TOWN OF PARIS -- Vice President Joe Biden hit the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha County Friday on his way to a rally at UW-Parkside.

Outside, he was greeted by Mario Ventura, the second generation owner of the sprawling cheese shop along Interstate 94 between Milwaukee and Chicago. The tourist stop is perhaps best known for its massive 1960s-era sign.

Inside, he shook hands with shoppers and introduced himself to dozens of people, greeting most with simply, "I'm Joe," according to a pool report.

"How you doin' man?" Biden said, greeting Alexander Wenzel, before posing for a photo. Wenzel, 29, an exchange student from Germany, had stopped off at the Cheese Castle "for his last Wisconsin beer" with his host Robin Rupp before catching a plane back home.

Manager Tyson Wehrmeister gave Biden a tour, telling the vice president his grandfather started the store in 1947.

"This isn't little now," Biden said, looking around.

Wehrmeister then took him a cheese case to offer some suggestions, including pointing out some aged cheddar "as really good stuff."

"I'm going to get some of that," Biden said.

Marcia Borgardt of Oshkosh was in the store with a few friends on their way to Chicago.

"I love him, and I love Obama," she said, showing off the photo she had taken with Biden on her phone. "This was so exciting. It made my week."

-- By Staff

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