Wisconsin Recall Roundup May 24, 2012

RGA Roadshow Brings Four Governors to Wisconsin, Barrett Lacking in Surrogates

Governor Scott Walker will be joined by Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at two campaign events in Wisconsin today to aid Walker as he faces Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a June 5 recall election. Jindal was last in the news here for poaching the Thomas Products manufacturing plant out of Sheboygan in 2009, costing the state 366 union jobs. Walker will also be joined by South Carolina's Republican Governor Nikki Haley on the campaign trail next week. Last night on Fox News, Haley refered to herself repeatedly as a "union buster." Earlier this week, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty joined Walker in La Crosse. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the first Republican Governor to step up to the plate to assist Walker with the recall. The RGA has spent at least $4.8 million in the state, mostly on TV ads.

In contrast, Governor Walker's opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has received little to no support from Democratic Governors or other national Democratic leaders. Former Congressman David Obey told John Nichols of the Capital Times, "I'd like to see Bill Clinton in Milwaukee. I think a lot of people would like to see that."

More Questions About Walker's Testimony to Congress

In April 2011, Governor Walker was called before Congress, just two months after introducing his controversial measure to strip collective bargaining rights from public sector workers (Act 10). Walker indicated to Congress that he wanted to introduce Act 10 after Democrats tried to pass union contracts during a lame duck session in 2010. Documents obtained by a Madison radio station contradict this explanation. According to the news report, "drafting documents obtained by WTDY News from the non-partisan Legislative Reference Bureau reveal that Act 10 was actually being drafted in November, just weeks after Walker was elected governor" and before he was sworn in. The veracity of Walker's statements to Congress have also been questioned by members of Congress. Walker described Act 10 as a purely fiscal and non-political measure, but a recently released video shows Walker talking frankly to a campaign contributor in January 2011, describing the measure as part of a "divide and conquer" strategy to break the power of unions in Wisconsin.

RGA Launches New Ad for Walker

The Republican Governor's Association launched a new attack ad yesterday, paid for by "Right Direction Wisconsin" PAC, which does not disclose its contributors. According to CNN, this is the seventh ad that the RGA has fielded in Governor Walker's recall election. The ad purports to present "just the facts," and criticizes Barrett for Milwaukee's unemployment rate, and for raising taxes. The ad says that Walker was able to balance the budget without raising taxes and that, since Walker became governor, Wisconsin has gained over 30,000 jobs. The ad uses the jobs numbers newly produced by the Walker administration, failing to note that the latest official figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Wisconsin is dead last in job creation in the country, posting a jobs loss of 21,400 from April 2011-2012. The ad also ignores the fact that Walker, first as Milwaukee County Executive, then as governor, is equally responsible for Milwaukee's high unemployment rate.

NRA Launches New Ad Against Barrett

The National Rifle Association (NRA) launched a new television ad in Wisconsin yesterday called "Don't Let Barrett Recall Your Gun Rights." The ad shows a man who is holding a shotgun, and the narrator says, "This is your freedom." Then suddenly the gun disappears, while the ad intones: "This is your freedom if Tom Barrett gets the chance to recall your gun rights." According to WisPolitics, a spokesperson for the NRA said the ad would play statewide until June 4 on cable television. The NRA has given Walker an award for signing Concealed Carry and a new Castle Doctrine bill in Wisconsin, reflecting American Legislative Exchange Council bills and priorities.

Lori Compas Debates Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald

Wisconsin Senator Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald debated his recall challenger, photographer and small business owner Lori Compas, last night in the only scheduled debate of the campaign. The two candidates debated in the auditorium of Jefferson High School in front of about four hundred people. Fitzgerald emphasized his position that, under Republican leadership, the State of Wisconsin is going in the right direction, and that the state has to move beyond the recalls. Compas emphasized the messages that she has heard from constituents in the 13th Senate District. She said they want "honest government, a good education, and good jobs." The crowd was clearly on the side of the underdog, cheering Compas frequently and sometimes booing Fitzgerald's comments. One of the most heated exchanges was about the mining bill that failed to pass the Wisconsin legislature. When asked what the candidates thought of the mining bill, Compas said, "I'm not against mining per se. I'm against mining corporations writing mining bills in Wisconsin." Fitzgerald responded by explaining why he appears in a video admitting that the mining company constructed the bill. "We don't have the expertise within the legislature, like the corporations that were actually interested in doing mining, to write that bill without their assistance." Fitzgerald's response was met with jeers from the audience. Fitzgerald left the auditorium immediately, not even talking to the press, while Compas was deluged with supporters. Political neophyte Compas is challenging an established politician in a highly Republican district.

Governor Walker Appears on Fox News (Again)

National Fox News trailed Governor Walker to Chippewa Falls yesterday for another softball interview. The clip was featured on Greta Van Susteren's show "On the Record." A recent report by the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism details how Walker has spent more time on Fox News than on any other media outlet. From the report: "The governor granted more interview time to the national, conservative-leaning Fox News cable channel than any other media outlet -- nearly twice as much as to his hometown newspaper, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, which had endorsed him in 2010" and has endorsed him again in 2012. This national media strategy has been helpful to his efforts to fundraise nationally from a conservative base. 74 percent of Walker's individual campaign contributions are from out of state.

The Center for Media and Democracy does not endorse or oppose any candidate for office. Since 1993, CMD has been reporting on corporate spin and government propaganda, exposing public relations tactics, and debunking PR campaigns.


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