• President Obama visits the University of Wisconsin-Madison today in the first of a series of events sponsored by the Democratic National Committee. The Democratic Party’s support in the Midwest appears to be evaporating, and Obama’s appearance at the university is clearly an attempt to drum up support among the college-age crowd that supported him so heavily in 2008:
The event hearkens back to Obama’s 2008 campaign rallies, and the choice of Madison as a location for the event speaks to both the political importance of Wisconsin and the Democratic Party’s hope of recapturing the enthusiasm of young people, which helped sweep Obama into the presidency.
More than 100 “watch parties” are being organized to watch the speech on TV across the country, said Tim Kaine, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
“He’s going to talk about the clear choice between Democrats and Republicans and why it’s so important for people to vote,” Kaine said.
Joining Obama at the event will be Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Tom Barrett, Milwaukee mayor and Democratic candidate for governor.
“Wisconsin treated him awfully well in 2008, both in the primary and general election,” Kaine said. “The races in Wisconsin he views as very important.”
Kaine specifically cited the race for Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District – which is being vacated by Rep. David Obey – between Republican Sean Duffy and Democrat Julia Lassa, as well as the race for senator between Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold and Republican businessman Ron Johnson.
• Speaking of Feingold, the Democratic Senator and Rep. Steve Kagen, both vulnerable incumbents this cycle, are gunning hard for the support of Big Labor:
Speaking at the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO biennial convention at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center, 2040 Airport Drive, Feingold and Kagen made impassioned pleas to labor representatives and union workers to encourage friends, neighbors and family members to vote in the midterm elections.
“It’s true that there are polls out there that are valid, that show this race is probably dead even,” Feingold, D-Middleton, said. “We might lose, if it’s only those people. If we go to the next group of people, and I’m not talking everybody who voted in the presidential election just a decent chunk of those people … we’re up by 20 percent over this anti-labor guy.”
That “anti-labor guy” — Republican Ron Johnson — is leading Feingold by 8 percentage points, according to a Fox News poll released today, 52-44.
Johnson, a business owner, has a new ad out called “57″ — the number of lawyers in the Senate, Feingold included. “That would be fine if we had a lawsuit to settle,” Johnson says in ad. “But we have an economy to fix.”