June 3rd, 2012
09:12 AM ET
3 years ago

Barrett on a presidential visit: Obama's busy

Washington (CNN) – Tom Barrett, the Democratic challenger in Wisconsin’s vote over the recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, said Sunday he did not ask President Barack Obama to visit the state ahead of Tuesday’s election.

“We understand he’s got a lot going on,” Barrett said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Although Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch recently said the president’s absence on the campaign trail is a troubling sign for Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor said the election should not be about national politics.

“Integrity and a grass-roots effort was how this started, and it’s going to be on those same two notes, that’s how this campaign is going to end, with a grass-roots movement and focusing on (Walker’s) integrity,” Barrett told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley.

The two candidates are locked in a bitter faceoff, the culmination of a two-year fight over collective bargaining rights for public employee unions. Both parties are casting the debate as a larger referendum on the role of government and policies supported by both parties. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz said last week that the election is a “test run” for Democratic ground operations in the presidential swing state of Wisconsin.

But Barrett pushed back against that assessment, insisting, as he has throughout his campaign, that the impending election is about Badger State ideals.

“I want to make sure that everybody understands this is about Wisconsin values. It’s not about Washington, D.C. It’s about right here, who is going to control the future of this state?” Barrett said. “Will it be tea party, the national right wing? Or is it going to be the people of the state of Wisconsin, and I’m putting my money on the people of the state of Wisconsin.”

Barrett has consistently hit the first-term Walker for trying to become a national “rock star” for the GOP at his state’s expense. Walker has defended his budget actions as necessary for the fiscal health of his state and framed his campaign as one of a strong leader who is making the necessary “tough decisions.”

Although the race remains tight, the incumbent governor and former Milwaukee County executive has edged out his opponent in three straight polls.

A Marquette Law School survey released Wednesday showed that 52% of people were likely to vote for Walker and 45% for Barrett.

In addition to an influx of ad spending, the state has received high-profile visitors on both sides of the political aisle. Former President Clinton, Wasserman Schultz and Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, campaigned last week on behalf of Barrett.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley visited the state to bolster Walker on Friday. She was the latest in a string of national Republicans - including Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Bob McDonnell of Virginia and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, as well as Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida - to travel to Wisconsin.

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Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Scott Walker • Tom Barrett • TV-State of the Union • Wisconsin
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. AlwaysRight

    Yeah. He was avoiding WI like the plaque because he was too busy creating all those shovel ready jobs he's been talking about...

    June 3, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. dreamer96

    Walker can still sell of Wisconsin state property to his pals the Koch Brothers using no bid contracts...Maybe a state park to the Koch Brothers for a ultra rich Koch Brothers housing development...or a few highways and bridges for a Koch Brothers Toll road system...Perhaps a State Owned College or two, for a new higher learning center for the Koch Brothers Universities....Teaching the Koch Brothers way of doing business...and Politics...Ah you gotta love the way the GOP are throwing big money at this election, and if they win, the State of Wisconsin once known for unions, and workers rights, will go down the toilet, and raise up as a shining example of the power of money and politics, and the death of Democracy in America...all rolled into one state election...

    June 3, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  3. J.V.Hodgson

    CLASSIC cnn!! HOW TO MAKE A STORY OUT OF NOTHING!?
    Yesterdays blog was Republicans claiming Obama stays away from Wisconsin re-call because he's afraid Republicans might win.
    Now today is part 2 where the democrats get to say it don't matter QED we can win without him calling and no doubt they appreciated Clintons support. And you guys at CNN say Ex Presidents should stay out of politics.
    Despite your claims of non bias who do you think you are kidding CNN leans Republican period.
    Its OK not a crime or wrong but stop trying to say you have no bias all the time Its BS.
    Despite polls Walker and others might just get booted.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    June 3, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  4. leftisloony

    "We understand he's got a lot going on".........what hogwash..........this president is campaigning all over the place, from college campuses to california and he can't find the time to stop in Wisconsin?, a battleground state about to have an incredibly key election........it's called strategy and damage control........obama's team has analyzed the situation and have figured out that the people of wisconsin who aren't union members might just keep walker in office.......walker has improved that state's economic and job outlook, lowered taxes, he's fixing the state's finances......so if the president does show up in wisconsin to help barrett and barrett loses, it won't look good for obama's national campaign and the headlines would reflect that and thus it would help spread Romney's message......if however, the loons and morons in wisconsin actually show up at the polls in numbers sufficient to defeat walker and barrett does win, obama will be there in a heartbeat..........count on it............here' hoping common sense and what's right prevail in wisconsin and obama's campaign takes a hit courtesy of gov walker.......have a nice day

    June 3, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  5. Common sense

    Hodgson: interesting because the only cable news station I get is CNN and they are so liberal it's not funny. I am forced to watch and grit my teeth at how bias they are to democrats. I guess this means they are neutral. If two people reading/seeing the same material get two different takes from it, it must be fair and balanced. Walker is this decade's superman!

    June 3, 2012 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  6. MaryM

    Remember to Vote good people of Wisconsin. Vote that lying walker and other koch lapdogs out of office now.

    June 3, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. FedUp

    He is definitely too busy to go to Wisconsin. Too many parties, campaign trips, visits to factories that will result in jobs as soon as he moves away from the front of the building. Really busy!

    June 3, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. SafeJourney3

    Wisconsin citizens, Please Vote and dont let the Koch plush buses get in your way or stop you from voting Walker and the other repubs out of office now.

    June 3, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. T'sah From Virginia

    President Obama does not need to go to Wisconsin – this is a "grass root fight" and the Democrats are doing what it takes to get rid of Walker; I think they will succeed!!! All of the OUTSIDE IRRITANTS interferes with the real cause and real message. Wisconsin should realize that and get to the polls and let the incumbents there know that MONEY IS NOT GOING TO BUY THEIR ELECTION – and that is what is happening on Walker's side!!!

    WISCONSIN – Do not allow $$$$$$ from outside interest WIN – GRASS ROOT efforts should prevail!!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!!!

    June 3, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. dreamer96

    Has anybody else noticed that America is changing from the early British Colony model where everyone owns property to the early Spanish Colony model where there are four separate classes in society.and only the rich own property. This can be seen in the Wisconsin fight..

    Scott Walker's form of government is more in line with the early Spanish Colonies
    where only 4 separated classes existed...
    At the top ..people like the Koch Brothers rule..
    Then people like the governor, taking orders from above..
    Then the middle managers, and large land and property owners...following the governors instructions..
    and at the bottom, last, and least important the worker class.... with few if any rights...

    June 3, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |