Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett says he is “very, very positive” he will win Tuesday’s recall election against incumbent, Republican Governor Scott Walker. How positive? So positive the Democratic candidate says he didn’t even ask President Barack Obama to come to Wisconsin to campaign for him.
On CNN’s State of the Union this morning Barrett took the fall for Obama’s Wisconsin no-show, saying his campaign did not approach Obama because “we understand he’s got a lot going on.”
Despite being just across the border in Minnesota, President Obama has no plans to campaign for Barrett, who is challenging Walker in Tuesday’s recall effort.
Instead, former President Bill Clinton was dispensed to Wisconsin on President Obama’s behalf.
Barrett said he wanted to make it clear that President Obama was not visiting the state because he signaled to the White House that it would not be necessary – the recall election is a grassroots effort, not a national election.
“Scott Walker wants to make this a national race because he wants to be on the national stage as the rock star of the far right as the poster boy of the Tea Party. That’s not what I’m interested in,” Barrett claimed. “I’m focusing on this state because that’s what’s important to me.”
Republicans nationwide are pointing to the race as an indicator of how Obama will perform in the state in this fall’s presidential election. However, Democrats are trying to downplay the significance of the the recall results as evidence mounts that Walker will likely keep his job.
“After we elect, again, Scott Walker, and kickoff this recall election and boot it to the curb, we’re going to take the next step,” said Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus at a Tea Party rally in Caledonia yesterday. Priebus, the former chair of the Wisconsin Republican Party, said the state will turn “red in November” and it will be “lights out” on Obama.
As of Wednesday, Walker still held the edge with 52 percent of likely voters saying they planned to vote for the Governor to Barrett’s 45 percent.
Ben Sparks, Communications Director for the Wisconsin Republican Party, said that Bill Clinton campaigning for President Obama was just a “smoke screen” for the president.
Thanks to Walker’s reforms, Sparks said a majority of Wisconsin voters have seen their property taxes go down, and that unemployment is at the lowest rate since 2008 (6.7 percent).
Although Wisconsin is typically be a blue state, Sparks said it is closer to a right-leaning state than most would think. He pointed out that former President George W. Bush only lost in Wisconsin by a few thousand votes in both 2000 and 2004.
“We are confident we will be victorious on Tuesday,” Sparks said. “But we are not taking anything for granted. It is about voter turnout. If everyone turns out, we will win.”