President Barack Obama is skirting around Wisconsin Friday, geographically that is. The president is holding 6 fundraisers throughout the day Friday — three in Chicago and three in Minneapolis — creating a circle around the state of Wisconsin.
This geographical avoidance is consistent with the president’s treatment of the Badger State. Obama has steadily avoided speaking out about next Tuesday’s Wisconsin recall election, initiated after Republican Gov. Scott Walker moved to restrict the collective bargaining privileges of public employees last year.
Many prominent political figures have made the trek to campaign for either Walker or his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. Both former President Bill Clinton and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley are in Wisconsin Friday to campaign for Barrett and Walker, respectively.
While Obama for America’s staff in Wisconsin has been supportive of Mayor Barrett’s campaign, the President has markedly refrained from taking a vocal role in the campaign.
“What good can come from Barack Obama being tied to a losing effort in Wisconsin when we know he needs to come back in a few months and try to win Wisconsin for the presidency?” asked GOP chairman Reince Priebus in an interview with the McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
The battle for Wisconsin is increasingly likely to be hotly contested in the presidential race between Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney — polling numbers have the two within five percentage points of each other in the state.
Romney is ready to start campaigning in the state, and is confident about Walker’s chances on Tuesday. “Wisconsin is an important state that we intend to campaign in vigorously after Gov. Walker wins the recall election,” Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said Wednesday.
If Governor Walker were to win, he would be the first recalled governor to win his recall election in the country’s history.