Lt. Gov: Obama skipping Wisconsin recall 'speaks volumes'
President Bill Clinton campaigned in Wisconsin on Friday with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
June 2nd, 2012
09:23 AM ET
3 years ago

Lt. Gov: Obama skipping Wisconsin recall 'speaks volumes'

Madison, Wisconsin (CNN) - President Barack Obama's absence in Wisconsin to campaign for the Republican governor's challenger "speaks volumes," and is a troubling sign for Democrats, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, Kleefisch was asked about former President Bill Clinton's stop in the state that day.

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She said Democrats believe Tuesday's recall election is "a dry run for the presidential race."

Kleefisch then transitioned to Obama.

"What's more obvious is that the president himself - the current president - is not in town," she said. "And that, to me, speaks volumes, his absence."

Asked to elaborate, she went a bit further.

"I think what it says specifically is that the president doesn't want to be associated with a losing campaign, and Tom Barrett's campaign right now doesn't have a whole lot of facts to stand on."

Clinton urged Wisconsin Democrats to vote for Barrett in Tuesday's recall election, saying Gov. Scott Walker has led the state without honest negotiation.

Walker, Kleefisch and four state senators are on the recall ballot.

Walker and GOP allies in the state legislature voted in January 2011 to limit raises for public employees, except police and firefighters, to the rate of inflation. They also moved to bar unions from deducting dues from workers' paychecks.

Kleefisch spoke at an evening rally hosted by Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party Express. She was not officially on the schedule for the event, but her aides said she had an unrelated event nearby.

Asked how she was feeling, given the fact that Wisconsin residents could vote her out of office in a few days, Kleefisch said she's "not afraid to lose."

"I don't think the governor or I is afraid to lose because we've done what has been right for our state, for our children, and for all the sons and daughters of Wisconsin."

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Filed under: 2012 • Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. ST

    I do think we need people who are really thinking. Wisconsin is the tight race up to now. It can go either way. If Pres. Obama goes there and things do not turn to our way (the Dems side), there will be a huge damage when we Dems are preparing ourselves to the major battle – General Election.

    June 2, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. T'sah From Virginia

    ►"I don't think the governor or I is afraid to lose because we've done what has been right for our state, for our children, and for all the sons and daughters of Wisconsin."◄

    Obviously, you didn't – which is the reason why you are being recalled in the first place!! You campaigned on ONE issue and then turned around and pulled a 180.

    On another note – who is Kleefisch to speak on Democrat’s behalf?? President Obama does not need to go to Wisconsin – that is a Wisconsin issue and they are doing BETTER than what was expected from the ROOT of Wisconsin. Just like all of the "special interest" and the money pouring into WI at a rate of 25-1 should not be happening. The President of the United States represents both sides of the election and he will continue to do so.

    WI – You are AWAKE and your efforts are not going unnoticed. America is here and we will continue to back up the PEOPLE, not the BILLIONAIRES that are trying to buy the elections all around the country (Rich White Men). Even if the Democrats LOSE in WI it does not mean we lost the war. This whole scenario will only bring to light who Romney is truly fighting for and how much the RICH are trying to prevail for their own benefits – The rest of America is NOT HAVING IT!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    June 2, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Alex

    Obama is winning wisconsin no matter what, hands down. Hearing these republicans speak is like nails in a chalk board. I cant even take it anymore. When Obama wins the general election, i wonder what the excuses will be from the right. It cant be voter fraud this time.

    June 2, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Pete

    How hypocritical,saying its a dry run for Democrates,is that why these rightwingers,including the Koch brothers are throwing everything,even the kitchen sink into this campaign.All their republican surrogates are coming in Christie,Jidgles,Preibus,the great Vulcan mind melt,all in one place.They're scared and they're showing it ,like people on a sinking ship knowing eventually its going to sink,no matter what and they're getting all the help they can to man the lifeboats,the rats are ready to jump...It didn't help with Bush publicly siding with Democrates about deficet reductions and raising taxes for more revenues,Norquists wasn't happy,but Jeb isn't under contract with him,so who cares!!!If republicans were so sure about this recall,what's all this glitz and glamor,plus the money,lots of money being spent by republicans nationwide just on this Wisconsin recall.They know they're in political trouble,if Walker goes down,they all go down,Kasich,Haley,all these teabaggin governors,the domino effect,it'll catch real quick and they know it..They'll be asked to spend more on these recalls,taking away needed campaign monies from Romneys donations,hurting him eventually,just a matter of time.Peoples voices will be heard on this initial recall signaling the end of these extremists nationwide and their destructive agendas....

    June 2, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  5. Anthony

    Even though Governor Walker leads Tom Barrett in the polls before the recall election, Obama leads Romney by 8 points in Wisconsin in the latest poll. Candidates matter in an election. Barrett lost to Walker in 2010. Perhaps Barrett is not a strong candidate to start with. This is a lesson that Romney will learn in November. All the money in the world can't change the fact that Romney is a bad candidate whom many people don't trust, including Republicans.

    June 2, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. CBR

    It would be inappropriate for the President to get involved in state politics. The people of Wisconsin will decide.

    June 2, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  7. kevin

    The dems don't have a prayer here. Wis citizens aren't dumb. Why would they recall a gov who erased a $3 billion defceit and created a $135 million surplus, drastically reduced unemployment, cut property taxes which you dems don't want to hear actually increased state revenue, and has the state and it's citizens feeling good about their future. Why would they bring in a dem who will undo all the good things that have happened and sink them in the tiolet again? The dems and the unions fed a lot of BS about how Gov. Walker would layoff thousands of union members and deny them a decent living. Didn't happen-zero layoffs. The washington post reported that the biggest union in the state has lost 28,000 members and they blame Gov. Walker's dues law. Maybe these members just totally disagreed with the union and don't believe in what they are doing and the millions of their dues money spent on the recall-dues money that could have been used to improve the members lives? Mr. Clinton evidently forgot which party ran away and hid in ILL to avoid honest debate and co-operation with Gov. Walker.

    June 2, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. B

    After sinking tens of millions of dollars in negative ads, Walker's blatant lies during both debates, several GOP governors making repeated returns to Wisconsin to plead with people to support Walker, and Walker being ahead in the polls by single digits only. Walker "not afraid to lose" is bull!

    June 2, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  9. Gurgyl

    I bet they do not vote for Mormon...and Bain capital....

    June 2, 2012 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  10. chuck weidemann

    Win or lose this country needs people and It's leadership to promote UNITY !!! Finding solutions makes government work for It's people....all It's peoples. That's the point!

    June 2, 2012 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  11. CJG from AL

    Dems across the country have backed Wisconsin on this recall with contributions. Scott has lied to the people of that state amd should be recalled. It is a disappointment to me Pres Obama or VP Biden has stayed away .from this state.. I am thankful Clinton was there , but I still support Pres Obama but am disappointed at least Biden is not there this week to rep for the POTUS. for Barret. I think most Dems are a bit disappointed , thank goodness Wisconsin has Ed Shultz!

    June 2, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Duke One

    Obama is one and done !!

    June 2, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  13. Debbie

    Koch brothers rhetoric. Why do the Koch brothers hate America so much. It's what gave them all of their wealth. Why not just go buy an island somewhere and rule there? Why do they think they are the answer? John Birch Society I guess.

    June 2, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why are right wingnuts so eager to return to the failed republican economic policies that gave us a near depression? Do they want to completely destroy America? It has to be more than just being able to blame Obama for a republican depression.

    June 2, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The media is reporting that the Kochs have buses traveling all over Wisconsin to save Walker's sorry butt.

    June 2, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. po

    Hope Scott Walker wins!

    June 2, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  17. amused canuck

    Hey USA! Please tell me you folks are not seriously thinking of putting a republican back in the White House.Please!Two wars and a gutting of the economy is enough for now.C'mon!

    June 2, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. MaryM

    Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and Scott Walker. Vote these liars out of office now

    June 2, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. sure thats what they say

    This same blow hard would have called Obama out as being non presidential, and trying to influence state government if he had visited. I really get sick of these simple minded politicians.

    June 2, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. TA111

    Hey Pete, maybe you should wake up-it was wasserman-schultz the dnc chair who said this is a dry run for the presidential election. Why are libs so ignorant? Can they not read?

    June 2, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Pander Bear

    Uh huh. And if Obama had appeared in support of Barrett the GOP would say that's a bad sign because the President is trying to prop up the recall effort and is interfering in state's rights and blah blah blah blah blah.

    June 2, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    I disagree that President Obama should be used as a pawn in Wisconsin politics. There is already too much outside influence attached to this race. And an Obama event would only create the political fodder that right wing extremists have been begging for.

    Too bad Ed Schultz didn't think this out clearly before HE spoke against the President. Most can agree that the reason why Wisconsin is in the position it is in today is because progressives sat home in 2010. I fault Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, Adam Greene, and others for convincing folks to stay home in "protest" in 2010. Now that they are reaping what they sowed and still fault Obama only shows that progressives have yet to accept their own culpability in what amounted to the Scott Walker election farce to begin with.

    The only concern Progressives should now have is to get out and vote.

    June 2, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  23. Norma Vessels

    Wisconsin, listen ... President Obama is on your side, on the side of the right to be heard, the right to good wages and clean working areas, and time off. But, President Obama won't try to interfere with the states, if at all possible. I imagine he's itching to go to Wisconsin and help Mr. Barrett, so that's why others went in his place. Stand strong, Wisconsin! Know what's right for the people, and vote that way, no matter what all those polls say, no matter what you hear on t.v advertisements .. no matter what .. vote you way.

    June 2, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. kevin

    Good to see the usual talking points of the dems out there. Keep up with that Bain stuff. As usual you refer to things that happened after Romeny left. While there Bain restrutured over 78 business to success. Were there some failures, of course! But think of all those companies that were saved if without Bain they went down the tubes? What would happen to unemployment and the economy then? Mitt left Bain and did a great job for the Salt lake City games. That kind of job you don't give to a community organizer! Do I agree with Mitt on everything-no. But what I do know is that I was much better off 4 years ago then I am now. I had just got a pay raise, my company was expanding, unemployment was around 4.2%, gas was a $1.70 and prices were affordable. Not anymore. Haven't had a raise in 3 years, my company cancelled all expansion plans, laid off hundreds. Gas is now $3.65, unemployment is 8.2% with millions more who have given up finding work and prices keep rising. But you dems blame everyone from Bush to the mail carrier on the corner. Which party has blocked practically everything in the Senate since 2010? Which controlling party in the Senate hasn't voted on a budget in over a thousand days? Don't give this horse pucky about co-operation. You dems have had control of Congress since 2007 and you haven't co-operated. You had that super majority and instead of using it to do good and unite both parties for a common cause you stuffed laws and spending down our gullets and acted like spoiled kids now in complete control of the candy store. Now you lack the leadership and moral courage and charcter to admit your plans didn't work. The 1% are evil but you gravel for their money to get elected. Oil companies are evil but you gravel for their money to get elected. You court money where ever you can but Republicans are terrible monsters for doing the same.

    June 2, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. ClemVinson

    This recall election is a referendum on one thing for sure: the effect of big money on elections. Prior to the Citizens United ruling of the supreme court, the people put their foot down and demanded their voices be heard via recall elections. Then the ruling, and in came the big money. If Walker wins it is clear evidence of the obstruction of the people voices. My question to the state of Winsconsin is this: Are you gonna see this through, or are you gonna cave to big money interests? I await your answer.

    June 2, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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