U.S. Senate candidate tries to break through the state news vacuum (VIDEO)
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, from Minnesota, probably has much higher name recognition in western Wisconsin than Tammy Baldwin. So Baldwin, a Democratic congresswoman from the Madison area Wisconsin who is running for the U.S. Senate against Republican Tommy Thompson, brought Klobuchar along to help her campaign Friday, Oct. 12, in Hudson, River Falls and Spring Valley.
The two stopped to press the flesh at the South Fork Cafe on Main Street in River Falls over the noon hour. The place was packed with supporters of both Democrats.
Todd Langenfeld from south of Prescott was there.
"We live in a occupied Minnesota here," Langenfeld said, adding that's why it was crucial for Baldwin to meet and speak to constituents in this part of Wisconsin.
"We can help her, so her appearance here today is important," he said, while eating his lunch at the South Fork.
After meeting with and listening to patrons at their tables, the two women briefly addressed the crowd.
Klobuchar said she wasn't going to talk about anything divisive, like people's allegiances to either the Green Bay Packers or the Minnesota Vikings.
Instead, she stressed the "common ground" that she has found working with Baldwin, including on behalf of the new Stillwater bridge to Wisconsin and the bipartisan farm bill stalled in Congress. Klobuchar said the new farm bill is vital to this area's dairy farmers.
"I want more people like Tammy (in Washington) so that we can get things done," Klobuchar said.
Baldwin stepped up to say: "I have made my career taking on special interests on behalf of ordinary Wisconsin families...My opponent has spent the last 10 years taking on special interests as a client for a big (Washington) lobby firm...This is what this race boils down to...Which side are you on? Who are you fighting for?"
Baldwin also told the Journal that, if elected, her No. 1 focus is to "work for a full economic recovery." She said much of that effort must be devoted to "rebuilding the state's former manufacturing prowess."
She said she would also target unfair business practices, such as oversea tax shelters.
Baldwin said other priorities are to strengthen the nation's Medicare and health-care systems "so that they last for future generations." Unlike Thompson, she said would block attempts to allow Medicare to rely on vouchers.
Baldwin also accused the Tea Party faction in the House of Representatives of being responsible for blocking the new farm bill that the Senate has already passed.
That legislation, which provides subsidies and aid to farmers nationwide, including drought-relief, as well as authorizing funding for a number of nutritional programs, expired Sept. 30.
Baldwin said she will do her best to "reach across the aisle" to work with Senate Republicans who wish to do the same.
After leaving the South Fork Cafe, Baldwin and Klobuchar went to the Shafer family dairy farm in Spring Valley. They were expected to receive support from state agricultural leaders.