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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

June 1, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Political rock stars hit the ground in Wisconsin recall

Usually, Republicans label Democrats as celebs because of their Hollywood support base. In Wisconsin, the tables have turned, and this time, Republican Gov. Walker is the “rock star.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigns on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker (WI-R).

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) campaigns on behalf of Gov. Scott Walker (WI-R) (Photo courtesy of Scott Walker Facebook page).

MILWAUKEE — Tom Barrett, Milwaukee mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate in the Wisconsin recall, has taken a page out of the Republican playbook. Republicans have repeatedly labeled President Barack Obama as a “too coolcelebrity with one too many Hollywood supporters. Flipping the script, Barrett has frequently called Republican Governor Scott Walker a “rock star.”

At the May 25 debate, Barrett ramped up the line of argument. He said the purpose for the recall was because Wisconsinites “wanted an opportunity to get a governor who would put this state first, a governor who would focus on creating jobs in this state and not traveling around this country trying to enhance his national image.”

Lately, though, it’s been the rising stars of the Republican Party traveling to Wisconsin to support Walker. And in an attempt to keep pace, Barrett now has his own political tour de force coming to town.

The laundry list of governors who have stumped or will stump for Walker before the June 5 election includes: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. According to the Walker campaign, Haley will make two campaign stops today with Walker.

After last Friday’s debate, Walker’s communications director Ciara Matthews said the flow of supporters “shows unity among Republican governors.” She continued, “It shows that they stand with Gov. Walker and that what Walker has done resonates with voters.”

Barrett’s communications director Phil Walzak had a differing take: “I don’t think the citizens of Wisconsin give a lick about what the governor of South Carolina thinks.”

Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton will campaign on behalf of Wisconsin gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett (D) (Photo courtesy of Flickr member mou-ikkai).

Barrett’s team, however, seems to think Wisconsinites do care about what at least some politicians think. First off, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) came to the state yesterday to campaign on Barrett’s behalf and host a debate watch party.

But Barrett is banking on another politician’s visit for a bump at the polls: Bill Clinton. WisPolitics has confirmed that the former president will be campaigning for Barrett in Wisconsin today.

In response to what appears to be one of the first major displays of support from the national party, Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she was “thrilled President Clinton will be traveling to Wisconsin tomorrow to campaign for the next Governor of the Badger State, Mayor Tom Barrett.”

It is shaping up to be a few intense days of political muscle flexing.

I have been in Wisconsin for a few days now, and after talking with voters on either side of the debate, they all seem united on one thing: Wisconsin first. Walker’s heavy reliance on outside support is a gamble. But Barrett is now taking the same chance.

Comments | More in National | Topics: Bill Clinton, Governors supporting Walker, Recall Walker

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