Biden says Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker skating by on GOP talking points

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Biden: Walker skating by with GOP talking points

MADISON, Wis. — Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Wisconsin’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Walker is skating by on GOP talking points while Democrat Tom Barrett has a “backbone like a ramrod.”

Biden made the comments at a Thursday morning fundraiser for Barrett.

Biden referred to an attack on Barrett outside the Wisconsin State Fair last year when he was beaten with a metal object, suffering injuries to his head, mouth, face and hand, after trying to help a screaming woman who was struggling to protect her 1-year-old granddaughter from being taken by the child’s father.

“Look at how he put himself, literally put himself at risk and went to the assistance of a grandmother and a child,” Biden was quoted as saying in the White House pool report. “He put someone else’s well-being before his own. … That’s like the backbone we need in a governor.

“This guy (has) is a backbone like a ram rod,” Biden said.

He used much the same rhetoric against Walker in his 30-minute speech Thursday as he did against Minnesota’s Republican gubernatorial candidate earlier this week. At both events, Biden accused the candidates of drinking the same Kool-Aid as national GOP leaders.

Republican National Committee spokesman Ryan Tronovitch dismissed Biden’s appearance as “another hollow stump speech.” Walker, in an interview with The Associated Press, said the White House won’t pick the next governor of Wisconsin, the people will. Walker said he’s pushing to lower taxes, cut government and grow jobs — the opposite of what Barrett, Biden and President Barack Obama stand for.

Barrett has proposed a job-creation plan that would reduce taxes for companies that create jobs, cut government spending and aims to replace the 180,000 jobs Wisconsin has lost since the recession began.

Walker has called for much deeper tax cuts than Barrett, a move that Barrett has called irresponsible and unrealistic given that Wisconsin faces a $2.7 billion budget shortfall.

Barrett introduced Biden at the event that was attended by about 250 people. At $250 a head, that would generate about $62,000 for the campaign. Barrett said prior to the fundraiser that he would use the money raised to pay for more television advertisements in the final three weeks of the race.

Barrett, speaking at his campaign headquarters, said he knows people are tiring of the relentless television ads in the race but that’s the most effective way to get the campaign’s message out statewide.

“It’s part of the democracy we have right now,” Barrett said.

A new study of campaign advertising released Thursday shows that Barrett has outspent Walker 2-to-1 since the Sept. 14 primary, but outside groups have helped level the playing field. All told, the Midwest Foundation for Media Research report found that Walker and Republican allies have spent $1.75 million while Barrett and Democratic supporters have spent $2 million.

Spending on negative attack ads was six times greater than on other spots, the report found.

Walker said he intends to make up the difference in spending “the old fashioned way” by soliciting small-dollar donations from people across the state.

Polls have shown Walker, the Milwaukee County executive, leading Barrett, the Milwaukee mayor.

Barrett said Biden chose to raise money in Wisconsin because he knows the race is tight.

“My assessment is it’s a very close race,” Barrett said.

Walker said that despite the barrage of attack ads in recent days, his numbers are still strong. But he expressed confidence based on his own fundraising in recent days that “I think we will pull away from Tom Barrett in this race.”

The governor’s race has attracted interest from the White House and other national political figures given that the office is open for the first time in 28 years and Wisconsin is an important state in the 2012 presidential race.

President Barack Obama hosted a fundraiser for Barrett this summer and Barrett introduced Obama at a rally last week on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney planned to host a fundraiser for him on Oct. 18 in Milwaukee and make other stops around the state.

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