Government and Political Roundup: Obama scheduled to visit UW-Madison this afternoonPresident Obama will speak at U-W Madison this afternoon after a spirited debate with an aggressive Mitt Romney last night.
President Obama will speak at U-W Madison this afternoon after a spirited debate with an aggressive Mitt Romney last night. The Republican challenger was energetic-and-assertive as he sparred with the Democratic president, mostly over the economy. Romney said “The status quo is not going to cut it.” And he accused the president of misrepresenting his stands on tax policies and education. At one point, Romney told the president quote, “You’re entitled to your own airplane and your own house, but not your own facts.” Obama accused Romney of trying to “double down” on the economic policies that caused the Great Recession. And the president said the former Massachusetts governor was too evasive in explaining his stands on tax changes, health care, and more. But Republican Governor Scott Walker said Romney scored a “clear victory,” by laying out his plans to get the country back to work. And Walker said Romney showed quote, “the kind of passion voters want from a president.” A new Marquette Law School released just hours before the date showed that Romney still had some serious work to do if he wants to be the first Republican since 1984 to carry the Badger State. The poll gave Obama an 11-point lead, 53-to-42 percent. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel analyst Craig Gilbert said Obama has led by an average of eight points in all independent polls in the state since both parties’ conventions. Obama’s visit to the U-W today will be his third since he was elected in 2008. The president’s campaign says Obama will urge his liberal Madison campus base to register-and-vote early.
Three U-W Madison professors have expressed concerns about President Obama’s campaign visit to the campus this afternoon. Ken Mayer, Donald Downs, and Ann Althouse say it’s unfair to make students register with the Obama campaign and express their support before they can get a free ticket. The event will be held on a large open hillside outside Bascom Hall in the central part of the campus. Six nearby buildings are shut down for security reasons – and Mayer said some instructors planned to give exams in those buildings today. He said a campaign rally quote, “hardly seems appropriate to shut the central campus down for an entire day, closing offices and seriously disrupting our mission.” And he said the U-W was penalizing or inconveniencing staff members for an event in which they had no say in planning. Downs it raises questions to force students to click a link on Obama’s Web site which says “I’m in.” U-W vice president Vince Sweeney said administrators took the concerns seriously, and will respond. He said staffers in the affected buildings were encouraged to take vacation or a personal day, or move to a different location. The U-W says the Obama camp will pay the university 15-thousand dollars for today’s rally. Taxpayers will cover police and security costs. The last time Obama visited Madison in 2010, the police bill was around 260-thousand dollars.
With 33 days until the election, Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says it’s still possible that Wisconsin’s U-S Senate race could see another major shift. Republican Tommy Thompson lost a nine-point lead in September, as his Democratic opponent Tammy Baldwin jumped to her own nine-point advantage in the Marquette poll. A new survey released yesterday shows that the race has narrowed – and Baldwin still leads 48-to-44 percent. Thompson, the former governor, had to focus on fund-raising last month after winning a hard-fought August primary – and Baldwin took advantage of Thompson’s public absence by running a series of attack ads. Franklin says the so-called “ad wars” are playing a big role in the Senate contest. Thompson gained some ground after he and several outside groups put out recent attack ads against Baldwin. The Americans for Prosperity started a million-dollar ad campaign for Thompson yesterday. And the National Senatorial Republican Committee also started running anti-Baldwin ads. Among other things, the new Marquette poll shows a gender gap. Women favored Baldwin 54-to-38-percent, while men endorsed Thompson 50-to-41.