Waukesha was the epicenter of the state and national political scene Saturday as Democratic and Republican candidates and their surrogates visited the city to encourage volunteers to make the final push for votes in the Nov. 6 election.
Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, were at President Barack Obama’s campaign office in downtown Waukesha.
Earlier in the day, on the other side of town, Paul Ryan’s wife, Janna Ryan, was joined by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, Republican Party of Wisconsin Chairman Brad Courtney and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.
And there's more to come.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who is running against Baldwin for the U.S. Senate, plans to be in Waukesha on Sunday to greet volunteers at the local GOP headquarters.
Vice Presidents Wives Talk to Supporters
Janna Ryan and Jill Biden visited with their husbands’ supporters, each taking time to shake hands with local volunteers.
“I would just like to extend a very heartfelt thank you for the prayers and support you have all shown our family in the past weeks and months,” said Janna Ryan, an Oklahoma native who now lives in Janesville. “It has meant so much.”
Jill Biden, an educator who was grading college English papers on the plane ride to Wisconsin, said she was encouraged by all the teachers who were at President Barack Obama’s campaign office. Bringing empanadas to the Democrats’ potluck dinner, she also signed a book for the Hadfield Elementary School children.
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“It is not up to me and Barack and Joe and Michelle,” Jill Biden said. “We can do so much, but it is all of you, you are the ones who are going to make the difference. You are the ones that are going to take us forward on Nov. 6 so that we win this election.”
GOP Rallies Around Thompson, Ryan and Romney
Johnson, a Republican from Oshkosh, was present at the Waukesha County GOP rally. While attention is on the presidential election, he also reminded people who he wants to see win the Senate race in Wisconsin.
“Please, please don’t let me wake up on Nov. 7 and say, ‘Who is my junior senator?’” Johnson said. “It has got to be Tommy Thompson. I am begging you, please, make that happen.”
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Ryan and Thompson are the leaders the country needs during the next term in office, Johnson added.
“I truly believe that these are men who were created for this pivotal moment in our history,” Johnson said.
Priebus, a Kenosha native, called for an end to the increasing debt in the United States, saying that the country can’t offer its freedoms and prosperity if it loses its sovereignty to its bondholders.
“We are in a battle for freedom, and we have a choice to make,” Priebus said. “We have a president who is in love with the sound of his own voice, but he can't and he isn’t in love with following through with promises.
“You know what? We are in a battle for freedom that we have never seen before," Priebus added. "This president, this Democrat, he is not your daddy’s Democrat. Newsflash – Europe doesn’t work in Europe, and it is not going to work here in the United State of America. “
Baldwin Takes Tea Party to Task for ‘Partisanship’
Baldwin, a Democratic congresswoman from Madison, was quick to blame the Tea Party for the problems in Washington, D.C. The partisanship displayed in national politics are hindering the country, she said.
“I can’t believe how much and how frequently partisanship for partisanship’s sake only has been elevated above the people’s business,” Baldwin said. “We saw our country’s credit rating downgraded because they put partisanship and games above serious business as a part of Congress. We saw Congress get on the verge of shutting down the entire federal government on two occasions in the past two years. Again, no necessity for that type of behavior.”
The rules are changing, Baldwin said, and people are working hard, but are “just getting by.”
“People are appropriately frustrated, fed up, and all they want in their representatives and in their next U.S. senator is somebody who is going to go and fight for them,” Baldwin said. “Not for Wall Street and the big banks, not for the big insurance companies, not for the big drug companies, not for the Tea Party, but for them.”
Baldwin told Democratic supporters that she’s fought for the middle class and criticized the amount of taxes millionaires, including Romney, pay to the federal government.
She also encouraged volunteers to help her defeat Thompson.
“I have taken on the special interests. Tommy has spent the last seven years taking on the special interest – as clients at his Washington, D.C., lobbying firm where he is a partner,” Baldwin said. “That is the contrast, that is the decision.”
Early Voting Starts Monday
Both parties were encouraging supporters to use early voting – or absentee voting – to help elect their respective candidates.
“You have to make sure that everyone gets out to vote and that you get out to vote so that you can then get other people in your neighborhoods, in your schools, in your churches, in your book clubs, in your exercise groups, you have to make sure that they get out and vote,” said Jill Biden.
For those who live in the 1st Congressional District, voters will have the chance for the first time ever to vote twice for Ryan, Courtney told the Waukesha County GOP. Ryan’s on the ballot for the House of Representatives and as the vice presidential nominee.
“This Monday you can start to vote for president, you can vote for the whole Republican team,” Courtney said. “It is going to be very close race. We need you guys to sign up as many times as you can to working on the phones and door knocks.
“We have got to identify those Republican votes," he added. "That is the difference between winning and losing.”