Tags: Tom Barrett

Obama to Wisconsin Democrats: I’ve Just Been So Busy Lately . . .



From the Tuesday edition of the Jolt:

Obama Finally Gives Wisconsin Democrats His Excuse: I Was Busy, Okay?

Reporter from local television affiliate Green Bay (WBAY): “There are a lot of Democrats in the state that have told me they’re upset that you did not come to the state and campaign for Tom Barrett.”

“The truth of the matter is, as President of the United States, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities. I was supportive of Tom and have been supportive of Tom. Obviously I would have loved to have seen a different result.”

Zip at Weasel Zippers can’t believe the audacity of the excuse: “Too busy? He did nine fundraisers in the four days prior to the election. In total Obama hit 13 fundraisers in the 14 days leading up to Barrett’s drubbing by Scott Walker.”

Ace of Spades adds:

I think it’s a little worse than that. Obama actually flew over Wisconsin to go from a Minnesota fundraiser to attend a Chicago fundraiser.

He actually flew over Wisconsin twice, avoiding it both times, in the crucial last days of the recall. At one point, when on the ground, he was 15 miles away from the border of Wisconsin — no quickie rally?

I guess Wisconsin’s airports and helipads and highways were also too busy.

I never know how much to make of a lie like this, because it’s an obligatory lie. Most people would mumble something like this rather than tell the strict truth.

What’s kind of amazing is that the White House books an interview with a television reporter from Green Bay and the president doesn’t have a better answer to this question.

How would you like to be the Obama for America grassroots coordinator in Wisconsin this morning?

UPDATE: Jeryl Bier looks at the president’s remarks from the five days preceding the recall:

June 05, 2012 Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event

June 04, 2012 Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event 

June 04, 2012 Remarks by President Obama and President Clinton at a Campaign Event

June 04, 2012 Remarks by Vice President Joe Biden at the Cypress Bay High School Graduation Ceremony

June 04, 2012 Remarks by the President on Equal Pay for Equal Work via Conference Call

June 01, 2012 Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Private Residence, Chicago, IL

June 01, 2012 Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Private Residence, Chicago, IL

June 01, 2012 Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event

June 01, 2012 Remarks by the President at a Campaign Event — Bachelor Farmer Restaurant, Minneapolis, MN

In retrospect, it’s rather amazing that they didn’t even send Vice President Biden.

Tags: Barack Obama , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Enraged Lefty Slaps Barrett for Conceding


Those warm, loving, kind-hearted leftists will turn on you so fast: last night an enraged supporter of Tom Barrett slapped him for conceding the race.

(HT: The Hope for America.)

I don’t recall – no pun intended – this sort of thing ever happening on an Election Night before.

I wonder how Democratic officeholders and their professional class feel about having a grassroots base that is, at least in some parts, psychotic enough to resort to physical violence upon their own candidates for acknowledging reality. At the time, Barrett trailed by about 10 percentage points or 200,000 votes; as of this morning, Walker won by 7 percentage points, or roughly 173,000 votes.

Tags: Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

How Scott Walker Helped Unions and Democrats Tonight


Believe it or not, by winning his recall election -  by a 57 percent to 42 percent margin at this hour – Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has done his foes – the Wisconsin Democratic Party, the public sector unions, the progressives and angry leftists – a favor.

He has liberated them from the soothing illusion that they are popular, and that the public agrees with them.

How do you think the leadership of the Wisconsin chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees felt when their membership fell to 28,745 in February from 62,818 in March 2011? How do you think they greeted the sudden realization that more than half of the members, given the option of leaving and cease paying union dues, headed for the exits?

The leadership of the unions have done a terrible job – and have spent years convinced that the membership loved them, and that the public thought well of them as well. That may have been true at some point, but it is no longer the case, and no amount of spin can change that. Better for these organizations to confront the hard truth, and work to earn back that trust of members and the public at large, than to insist that all is well and ignore the problems.

Tonight Scott Walker and his GOP allies did a favor the Obama campaign, too. They assured them that their classification of Wisconsin as a swing state was accurate, and that in the “dry run that we need of our massive, significant, dynamic grassroots presidential campaign” that DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz promised, the Wisconsin Democrats failed miserably. At this hour, Walker is winning by roughly a 200,000 vote margin.

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Decision Day Dawns in Wisconsin


It’s Tuesday, Recall Election Day in Wisconsin. I wonder if MSNBC will see a surge in viewers tonight, as optimistic (but hopefully not overconfident) righties tune in to watch the hosts’ collective meltdown?

From the Morning Jolt today:

It’s Decision Day in America’s Dairyland!

If you live in Wisconsin, go vote. But you probably know that already. If you know someone in Wisconsin,you may want to encourage tehm to vote, but… consdierhin how thye’ve been at the epicenter of a political earthquake and about two years’ worth of aftershocks, they probably know it’s recall election day already. They may just scream in response, “LEAVE ME ALONE!”

And you really can’t blame them:

A bitterly contested state Supreme Court race in April 2011 — when incumbent Justice David Prosser narrowly survived a recount — was followed by a state Senate recall primary and general elections through the summer, municipal voting in February, the presidential primary in April and more recall primaries on May 8, including one for governor.

If there’s any state that epitomizes what the permanent campaign feels like, it’s this one. Wisconsin voters essentially have been asked to cast ballots every 60 days for more than a year, and they’ve been exposed to a relentless barrage of television and radio advertisements, mailers, phone calls, yard signs, stump speeches and debates.

All told, close to $110 million in political advertising has been spent through May 21, according to Mike McCabe of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, which tracks such spending, and it’s left residents with a bad case of election fatigue.

I’ve been checking in at the liberal blog FireDogLake to see how the lefty grassroots are taking the Wisconsin developments. David Dayen writes:

Labor keeps insisting that they have a superior ground game, and even the DNC has said this is a “dry run” for November (I would argue that it’s not all that dry, giving the implications of a union-busting Governor beating back a labor-led surge). This is an opportunity to test the voter turnout systems for the fall.

Ultimately, however, one must acknowledge that no public poll has shown Barrett in front. That argues strongly that Walker will be able to hold on. He goes into Election Day a small favorite. Moreover, with public employee union membership in the state declining as the anti-collective bargaining law gets implemented, as was the point, this could represent a high-water mark from an electoral standpoint for labor in the state. They will not have the funds anymore as their membership gets decimated. The larger war, to drain funds from a Democratic-friendly source, has been fought and concluded, in many respects. Building worker power becomes that much harder when the right to organize is restricted. I don’t know what the answer is post-recall, but it probably doesn’t lie with elections.

Walker has won the campaign spending and advertising war, for whatever that’s worth:

Walker, the Republican Governors Association, and independent tea party groups and other grassroots fiscal conservative organizations have spent around $2.484 million to run ads in the recall campaign over the past week, according to data provided to its clients by Kantar Media/Campaign Media Analysis Group, a company that tracks and estimates the costs of campaign television ads. That’s more than double the $1.125 million Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s Democratic challenger, Democratic Party committees and independent progressive groups have spent to run commercials from last Monday through Sunday. Overall nearly $3.6 million has been spent to flood Wisconsin airwaves with recall spots the past week.

If Barrett loses, expect to hear a lot of Democrats insisting, without much compelling evidence, that they would have won handily if their side had just spent more money. Of course, if a Democratic takeover of the governorship of a swing state – and a warning to every other GOP governor who dares cross public sector unions – was just a matter of spending more money… why wouldn’t the DNC or its allied groups spend the bucks necessary?

For what it’s worth, Conservative Art Critic over at Ace of Spades, who has been following this recall obsessively – but in the good way – makes his final projection of 52 percent to 48 percent.  Nate Silver concludes, “If we put Walker’s lead in WI polls into our forecasting model, it would give him about a 95% chance of beating Barrett.”

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Tom Barrett, Not Yet Winning Over Brewers Fans


Campaign Spot reader Steve gives us a Wisconsin recall report from the Pirates-Brewers game:

I drove from Chicago to Milwaukee on Sunday to watch my beloved Pittsburgh Pirates defeat the Milwaukee Brewers. During the third inning, the jumbotron began showing random crowd shots (which had the attention of the crowd and generated friendly cheers) – the cute baby in the Brewers jumper, the shirtless guys with beers, the pretty girls dancing to the music. Then, the camera panned to a guy holding up a “Vote Barrett” sign. The crowd erupted…in boos! These were significant, sustained boos. I asked the couple seated next to me – a young couple that didn’t appear to be regular CPAC attendees or anything -  about the situation and they said, “Barrett’s got no chance. People are sick of this thing.”

Jim, I read the data and insights ably provided by National Review and realize that things are going well for Walker and I’m not reporting any new news. But it’s always nice to confirm the numbers you are seeing with strong anecdotal/local evidence. This was it for me. Walker in a landslide.

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Wisconsin’s Recall Madness Could Use Some Avenging


Wednesday’s Morning Jolt features lot of discussion on Greece, a look at the Obama campaign’s continuing emphasis on the candidate’s personal narrative, and then this development in America’s Dairyland:

End the Division in Wisconsin! Obey the Will of Public-Sector Unions!

We’re one week away from the Wisconsin recall election.

The Walker campaign sent along word:

Governor Scott Walker’s campaign announced today that it has raised more than $5 million between April 24, 2012 and May 21, 2012 from a total of 54,112 contributions. 39,813 of those contributions were $50 or less, representing 73.5% of the overall number of contributions.

“More than 73 percent of our contributions were for $50 or less, showing that as the election draws closer, Governor Walker’s grassroots support is as strong as ever,” said Ciara Matthews, communications director for Friends of Scott Walker. “Governor Walker’s reforms have proven successful for the state by saving taxpayers more than $1 billion and helping to create more than 35,000 jobs since January 2011. It is because of this tremendous success that voters continue to stand with Governor Walker.”

The Walker campaign finished the quarter with a combined total of more than $1.6 million cash on hand in the recall and general campaign funds. The campaign has raised more than $20 million since January 1, 2012.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Democrats, who fled the state to avoid voting on Walker’s reforms, who let protesters take over the state capitol for several days, who compared the governor to Hitler, and who forced a referendum for recalls of state legislators and the governor’s recall (putting state voters through seven elections in one year), have coalesced behind one final closing argument: Scott Walker has divided the state.


So the only way to unite the state is to give Wisconsin Democrats what they want!

In related news, the head of a public-sector union in Wisconsin was seen in public with a staff and helmet with giant horns, declaring that the era of pluralism and public disagreement must end, and adding, “Is not this simpler? Is this not your natural state? It’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation. The bright lure of freedom diminishes your life’s joy in a mad scramble for power. For identity. You were made to be ruled. In the end, you will always kneel.”

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Walker Unveils Ad Hitting Barrett on False Crime Reports


The Scott Walker campaign is up on the air with a new ad that spotlights the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s investigative report uncovering hundreds of crimes misreported by the Milwaukee Police Department — seriously undermining Tom Barrett’s claim that crime has declined on his watch.

Apparently the explanation from the Milwaukee Police Department is that it was a . . . “coding error.”

A pair of Republican lawmakers sent a strongly-worded letter Friday to Mayor Tom Barrett that asks him to call for an independent audit of the Milwaukee Police Department’s flawed crime data.

The request for an outside review is based on a Journal Sentinel investigation that found more than 500 cases of aggravated assault were misreported as lesser crimes in the past three years.

Police Chief Edward Flynn defended his department Friday following a public roll call on the city’s north side. He said calls for an outside audit of his department amount to “political reindeer games.”

“Clearly we have got a coding error for one particular crime that’s apparently held up over several years,” Flynn told reporters.

Barrett thinks his department deserves credit for asking for an audit last year: “I am certainly going to look at that and see what steps are necessary after that,” Barrett said. “But I applaud my police department for asking for this audit. This was not something that they had to do.”

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett

Allen on Walker: ‘Every Indication Now Is That He’s Going to Win Big.’


It’s amazing how fast the conventional wisdom shifts. I have been cautiously optimistic about Governor Scott Walker’s odds in the Wisconsin recall; polls have pretty consistently put him right around 50 percent and his rival, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett, in the mid-40s.

Along comes Mike Allen of Politico on MSNBC this morning: “Every indication now is that he’s going to win big.”

Joe Scarborough actually cuts him off in surprise at how Allen so casually asserts that the recall isn’t expected to be close.

“The Left, labor, Democrats, which planned to embarrass him, instead have made him a national figure with a very bright future,” Allen continues. “It was money poured down the drain by Democrats and the Left in a presidential election year.”

John Heilemann chimes in, “You notice the White House, the reelection committee in Chicago, they’ve stayed away from Wisconsin. They’ve done these big ad buys, they picked their nine states, Wisconsin not on that list. The reason is they wanted to see how this turned out. They have kept their distance from it.”

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Tom Barrett’s Been Bragging About Falsified Crime Reduction Figures


Today the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel unveils a special report, revealing that the Milwaukee Police Department has been misreporting and misclassifying violent crimes — hundreds of beatings, stabbings and child abuse cases — resulting in public summaries that claim violent crime is decreasing in the city… when the numbers are actually increasing modestly.

It’s pretty horrifying:

At the request of the Journal Sentinel, FBI crime experts reviewed these and dozens of other incidents and confirmed that they should have been labeled as aggravated assaults. In addition to the more than 500 misreported incidents, the investigation found at least 800 more that fit the same pattern but could not be confirmed through available public records. The Journal Sentinel has submitted an open records request for those cases.

The misclassified crimes included cases where perpetrators threatened to kill victims; stabbed or cut them with knives; and beat them with canes, crowbars and hammers.

Nearly one-third of the assault cases identified by the Journal Sentinel involved the abuse of children – most were struck in the head with belts and electrical cords, causing cuts, bloody eardrums and black eyes.

Instead of accurately reporting the weapons used as firearms, knives or blunt objects, the department reported them to the state and FBI in a way that avoided triggering scrutiny by those who review the numbers.

Criminologists reviewed the Journal Sentinel’s findings and said they showed a pattern of misreporting that has helped drive down the city’s crime rate.

And the phenomenon is too frequent to be simple human error:

Sam Walker, criminology professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, said the Journal Sentinel’s investigation identified patterns that raise questions about the department’s procedures.

“That clearly indicates a systemic problem in the department – there has to be a failure of leadership,” he said. “If (police) do it in one or two cases, it’s not a big deal. If they do it in a large number of cases, it’s suspicious and probably improper. It’s something that needs to be corrected immediately.”

Why are you reading about this on a political blog? Well, one would wonder how high this effort to misrepresent crime statistics went up – was it just in the police department, or did it come from someplace higher? Where was the mayor during all this?

After all, the mayor isn’t shy about bragging about these declines: “I’m extremely pleased to report that in the last four years, we’ve seen dramatic declines in both violent and property crime.  Between 2007 and 2011, total crime decreased 21.1 percent.  This number translates into 25,508 fewer crime victims.  The hard work of the Milwaukee Police Department is having a profound impact on our neighborhoods.”

Say, who is the mayor of Milwaukee? Tom Barrett? Where do I know that name?

Ah yes, he’s the Democrat challenging Scott Walker in the recall election. Say, let’s look at his campaign web site: “Tom has worked with law enforcement, community groups and residents to develop proactive strategies, and he has empowered the city’s police department with the resources and strong leadership it needs to get the job done. As a result, violent crime in Milwaukee has decreased by 20% over the past two years, and homicides are at the lowest levels in more than 20 years.”

Oh, are they, Mr. Mayor? Just how much faith do you have in those figures?

Tags: Crime , Milwaukee , Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Stephanie Cutter: Wisconsin Recall? What Wisconsin Recall?


On MSNBC, Chuck Todd just asked Obama’s deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, if the DNC – controlled by Obama, remember – would be sending financial assistance to Tom Barrett, Wisconsin Democrats, and other folks hoping to unseat Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in next month’s recall.

“I have no idea,” she said repeatedly. She emphasized that the campaign would be trying to mobilize volunteers and other non-financial means of helping Democrats in that state.

Two observations:

1) There is no way that the deputy campaign manager of the Obama campaign does not know whether a national organization with $24 million in the bank will allocate $500,000 to unseat a Republican governor in a swing state five months before Election Day.

2) If the answer is not “yes,” it is “no.”

Tags: Barack Obama , DNC , Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

DNC Turning Down Wisconsin Democrats’ Requests?


Interesting: The DNC is refusing to kick in $500,000 to help Wisconsin Democrats unseat Scott Walker.

The DNC has $24.4 million cash-on-hand as of late April.

The unnamed Wisconsin Democrat quoted in the above report says, “we’re even in the polls, this is a winnable race.” The polling doesn’t quite bear that out; one poll had Barrett ahead in February.

UPDATE: Wow. No wonder folks who loathe Scott Walker need money:

After refining the dataset created by Verify the Recall, a Wisconsin man began running it against other public records and discovered 571 tax delinquents signed Recall petitions.His findings? The total in back taxes owed by petitioners is more than $17 million. The list of individuals can be found through the website,

Tags: DNC , Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Dissecting These New Wisconsin Polls...


It’s entirely possible that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s efforts to control his state’s spending, and end collective bargaining on non-wage matters by public sector unions is not winning the battle of public opinion. If this sort of thing were easy and popular, it would have been done a long time ago.

But the circumstances for Walker may not be as dire as two recent polls suggest. Over at Hot Air, Allahpundit and Ed Morrissey dissect the national poll from the New York Times. In particular, Ed notes:

First, the partisan split in the sample gave a ten-point advantage to Democrats.  Their sample for this poll had a D/R/I split of 36/26/31, an absurd sample for political polling.  In December, Rasmussen’s general-population survey put Republicans ahead, 36.0% to 34.7% for Democrats.  A recent poll by Gallup showserosion in Democratic affiliation all through 2010.  In 2008, Barack Obama won the popular vote by seven points nationwide, and the NYT/CBS poll assumes that the electorate has grown more Democratic in 2011.

Next, 20% of the poll’s respondents claim to come from union households.  However, only 11.9% of American workers belong to a union, according to a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics last month and noted by none other than the Times itself.  Union membership fell to a 70-year low as a percentage of the workforce, which in itself is a rather damning statement about the view of collective bargaining by the vast majority of American workers.  How exactly did the survey manage to comprise itself of almost twice as many union-household respondents for a poll on union policies as union members in the workforce?  Interesting.

I would note that the new poll out from Public Policy Polling has a few features that look odd as well. The sample looks okay in partisan breakdown (although perhaps the percentage of independents is a bit high) but has an interesting skew on gender: 54 percent women, 46 percent men.

In 2008, the exit polls in Wisconsin – you know, the actual people who voted, not a pollster’s assessment of who is a likely voter – was 51 percent women, 49 percent men. In the 2010 midterms, it was 50/50.

At Legal Insurrection, William Jacobson notices that the PPP sample has the same portion of folks who voted for Democrat Tom Barrett last year (47 percent) but either they have fewer Scott Walker supporters (from 52.3 percent to 47 percent), or a chunk of Scott Walker supporters have developed amnesia. He also notes the PPP sample is 32 percent union households, but the 2010 exit poll data indicated only 26 percent of Wisconsin households include a union member.

This is not an overwhelming skew to the sample, but it is there, and when the headline is that “Walker would lose rematch with Barrett in Wisconsin,” that narrow margin in favor of defeated Democrat Tom Barrett may be largely attributed to a sample that includes more women and is more heavily union members than any future Wisconsin electorate.

Tags: Polling , Scott Walker , Tom Barrett , Wisconsin

Tidal Wave About to Hit Wisconsin?


Votes for Republican Mark Neumann, former congressman, who came in second with 38.7 percent of the vote in his party’s gubernatorial primary: 237,755.

Votes for Democrat Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee, who won his party’s gubernatorial nomination with 90.5 percent of the vote: 210,886.

In other words, Republican Milwaukee county executive and winning Senate* gubernatorial nominee Scott Walker’s vote was 1.7 times that of Barrett. 

About 233,000 Democrats voted in yesterday’s Wisconsin gubernatorial primary; about 614,000 Republicans did.

* Evidence of a late night between the primaries and writing the Jolt . . .

Tags: Scott Walker , Tom Barrett

Call Mulder and Scully!



The web site for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett has disappeared. Visitors to the site were greeted with a message today saying that the domain name expired on Wednesday and was awaiting either renewal or deletion. Barrett spokesman Phil Walzak says the campaign was working on fixing the problem and hoped to have it back online soon.

But don’t worry. He and his detail-oriented staff will do a much better job running the state’s government.

Tags: Tom Barrett

Are You Sure He’s Looking at the Wallet?


I think the Republican Governors Association is being generous in its assessment of what Tom Barrett, the Democratic candidate for governor in Wisconsin, is looking at in the file footage in his commercial:

Tags: Tom Barrett

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