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Senate Candidate Eric Hovde Blasts Tommy Thompson for Not Debating

Campaign manager says former governor backed out of debate as soon as he heard Hovde would be there, but Thompson aide says Hovde is being "hypocritical."

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eric Hovde Tuesday took former Gov. Tommy Thompson to task Tuesday for not appearing at a candidates forum in Madison.

Hovde, who is opposing Thompson and two other Republicans in the Senate primary, said the no-show is denying voters the chance to hear where the former governor stands on fiscal issues. 

“It’s certainly disappointing that, once again, Gov. Thompson is denying Wisconsin voters a good, honest debate," Hovde campaign press secretary Sean Lansing said in a statement.

Thompson, along with Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald, will not participate in Dane County Young Republicans event on Tuesday night.

The event, originally designed as a debate between the four candidates, is now a forum with only former U.S. Rep. Mark Neumann and Hovde participating. 

"With record high spending, crushing debt and tax rates that are set to skyrocket, folks deserve to know where a governor who increased state spending by 118 percent while raising taxes and fees by millions and increasing our debt by $1.8 billion stands on these issues,” Lansing added.

Thompson campaign turns tables

However, the Thompson campaign fired back by calling Hovde's comments hypocritical since Hovde missed an earlier candidates forum.

"Hovde's criticism is hypocritical, as he blew off Wisconsin Right to Life, refusing to participate in their April 28th debate," said Thompson spokesman Darrin Schmitz in a statement. "All of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate's participated in the pro-life debate except for Hovde."

In terms of letting voters know where Thompson stands on fiscal issues, Schmitz said:

"Tommy Thompson delivered historic tax relief by picking up two-thirds the cost of education, which Hovde counts as a rise in government spending. Thompson also capped property taxes and implemented the QEO as well as used his veto pen a record 1,900 times to cut $287 million in spending."

David Summers, spokesperson for the GOP group, said Thompson and Fitzgerald will not attend due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts. 

But Lansing wasn't buying that.

"That has been (Thompson's) standard line every time something like this has come up," Lansing said Tuesday afternoon during a phone interview. "I have it on good authority from a couple of people involved in their organization that as soon as he found out that Eric was confirmed, he backed out." 

As Hovde and Neumann discuss their positions on key issues and answer pre-submitted questions during the forum, Fitzgerald will hold a fundraiser in Oconomowoc this evening, according to Wispolitics.com

Thompson's evening plans are unknown and his campaign did not return calls seeking comment.

Thompson also did not attend a debate in April in Waukesha. According to the Hovde campaign, the Republican U.S. Senate candidates will debate again July 30. 

Hovde's comments on poor spark controversy

Hovde created a stir of his own during the last couple of days when he said the media should stop writing about the plight of poor people and concentrate more on the broad fiscal issues such as waste, fraud and government spending that continue to perplex lawmakers and policymakers.

His comments, first reported by The Huffington Post, were made at an event in Brookfield on Friday. And Democrats wasted no time reacting to the statement.

"It’s important to keep in mind that these were the comments of a multmillionaire, hedge fund banker who has spent the last 24 years in Washington," said the campaign for Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin.

"He has shown no interest in working across party lines to strengthen the economic security of Wisconsin’s middle-class and is instead supporting the failed policies of the past that benefited a few, crashed our economy and devastated the middle class," Baldwin's campaign added.

Lansing said the claim that Hovde does not care about poor people is "ridiculous." 

"What you saw was politics as usual," said Lansing, referring to the video clip that shows Hovde making his remarks. "They tried to turn it into this guy (being) anti-poor when nothing could be further from the truth."

A Rasmussen poll released late last week showed Thompson ahead of Baldwin 52 to 36 percent. The public opinion poll showed the other three Republican candidates are virtually tied with Baldwin. 

The Republican primary is Aug. 14, with the winner to face Baldwin in the Nov. 6 general election.

Lyle Ruble June 21, 2012 at 12:12 PM
@Brian Carlson...As you so aptly state it, "evokes his poor immigrant ancestors", I did spend some time researching his family and it is clear; he is the product of wealth and influence. He is one who has not had to struggle, hence he doesn't quite understand the plight of the poor and disadvantaged. To his credit, he and his brother Steven have created the Hovde Foundation and are focused on the fight against MS and Hovde House project focused on children at risk around the globe. However, his credentials as a real estate magnet, hedge fund manager, financial analyst and investment banker doesn't appear to have prepared him for the political complexity of serving in the US Senate. In my opinion, he is even more out of touch with everyone else's experience who occupy the middle and lower working classes than Ron Johnson.
Lyle Ruble June 21, 2012 at 12:24 PM
@Terry...I'm happy you find some pleasure in exchanges that others write. However, why is there a tone of anti-intellectualism in your comment? I hardly think that you are part of the unwashed masses, as you state.
lolo peeg June 21, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Right now we need more leaders that will not cooperate with the socialist takeover of America. I am sure that Eric will work very well with senators that agree with his vision. With any luck Harry Reid will be tossed from his chairmanship this time around and we can stop the leftist train in its tracks.
lolo peeg June 21, 2012 at 01:28 PM
@brian -- Did you hear the rest of the message? When are we going to stop deficit spending, Brian? Huh? Come on, you are not being fair, you are just taking the last line out of context. I think the ad is great, and I look forward to hearing it each time it comes on.
Dirk Gutzmiller June 21, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Terry - There are basically three kinds of Republicans 1 - Suburban Whites - Vote to keep minorities out of their taxes and communities. Too big lawns, no sidewalks, lots of shopping daily, granite countertops, kids' sports every night and weekends even though the kids are genrally not good athletes, concealed carry sort of, they really like to partially reveal. 2 - Mega-rich - Noveau Riche, or Old Money. Big estates, private everything including roads, shopping in Paris, gold countertops, bodyguards. too much money. Almost always a dark side to how the money was made. 3 - Po' White Folk - Vote against their economic self-interests to support religious and moral issues (which they may have had a real hard time living up to), and their hope to someday be super-rich also. Reside in particular designated enclaves, but not called ghettos, often called other side of the tracks, rural or small-town.. Also vote to keep minorities out of their enclaves.
Lyle Ruble June 21, 2012 at 03:20 PM
@lolo peeg...What socialist takeover? Where is the evidence for making such a statement? This is a claim that's been made for the last 80 plus years. Typical right wing scare tactic rhetoric. Let's keep it real.
Brian Carlson June 21, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Terry, Well that is another first! Now someone tries to insult me by referring to me as a member of the "educated" left. Is education something that is now disrespected? I would like to know what elite I am in... I would say I am lower middle class now, I was certainly born into a lower middle class family. I am an artist and an educator. My principle education was in art and art history. The idea of trying to speak like what you call the "unwashed masses," ...to put the argument "in their terms," highlights your condescension, not mine.
Brian Carlson June 21, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Terry when I said that candidates know that simple sentences work on the "masses" I wasn't referring to income brackets..."class", to educational levels nor to particular political parties or subgroups. I meant that, apparently, MOST people, the masses, may be led about by what amounts to very simple ideas, slogans that are not tied or are loosely tied to literal defined plans. So, who wants to "Move Forwards," or who wants "Change?" Who will be tough on crime, make the hard choices, make jobs a priority, etc? Who will simply "not raise taxes." For a huge number of folks, educated or not, rich, middle-class, poor, from any religious background or none, from any ethnic group.... This is pretty much the level of the thinking spoken about.... essentially a regurgitation of the most recent ads. Included with this is a propensity to think and speak in terms of manufactured abstract blocs..... What is, for instance, "the educated left?" How can you characterize millions of people with diverse backgrounds, cultural experiences, faiths and non-faiths, people who may be in ant economic strata....and imagine that "They" hold this position or that, say this or that, etc? A more accurate category would be, "people I don't like who vote differently than me," as a preface to sentences.
Terry June 21, 2012 at 07:44 PM
No sir, no attempt to insult you was intended. I was just reveling in the delicious irony of arguing for the 99% in the context and syntax historically reserved for the elites. It... amused me.
Terry June 21, 2012 at 08:11 PM
I will say this, however, I have no problem, simply based upon reading your posts (which I do enjoy), that you are or were part of the "education elite". I believe that it would be somewhat disingenuous to claim otherwise. Every group has subgroups. We mark ourselves as part of them in certain ways, such as how we carry ourselves or present ourselves. Within those same subgroups it works the same. How we present ourselves, especially in the presence of those outside the subgroups, can be indicative of our place in the respective subgroup to those paying attention. I know many folk in the "educated" subgroup, some of who post on this site. The way you present yourself speaks for itself as to were you likely fall within that particular subgroup. Simple human psychology.
Terry June 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM
lol... You infer that suburban whites stereotype others, while you are stereotyping them. Had I come on this forum and made some similar blanket statement about some social economic or racial group beloved by the left, you would be the first one castigating me for doing so, and you would be correct,. If it helps you better understand or defend your position by thinking of the world in such simplistic terms, far be it from me to dissuade you. I could return the favor, but that would be disingenuous as I am not as willing to think of the world in such simple terms.
Terry June 21, 2012 at 08:28 PM
Lol... Lyle. Just a bit of hyperbole of my own, if you would indulge me...
Lyle Ruble June 21, 2012 at 08:40 PM
@Terry...You may not think of the world in such simplistic terms, of course the world is not simplistic, but I am afraid there are far to many people do think in that manner and base most of their opinions on stereotypes. As any political scientist, economist or sociologist can attest, American society is classified from top to bottom. Although we would like to think of ourselves as classless, that just isn't the case. As such, Dirk's characterization has relevance and I don't know how one talks about subgroups/subclasses without referring to a generalization. We encounter this linguistic trap every time we refer to minority groups and individuals. I for one would welcome a different way of talking about various groups without the stereotyping language that goes along with it.
Jay Sykes June 21, 2012 at 08:42 PM
@Brian... What do you want the candidates to say? OR How specific do you want them to be in their 30 second TV commercials or 15 second radio spots? (said with a sardonic lilt in the voice)
Lyle Ruble June 21, 2012 at 08:57 PM
@Jay Sykes...What I miss is the long and thought out position papers and statements that candidates used to put out. I have been all over looking for position statements from Hovde and I have been thwarted in my effort. He is, so far, running on being an outsider focused on fiscal conservatism, but I can't find anything on other issues. In fact his fiscal conservative positions are sketchy at best. When you don't have position papers to go on, then you are left guessing as to where they really stand on issues other than the 30 second sound bites.
mau June 21, 2012 at 09:04 PM
We disagree finally. I would never vote for Neumann. I worked for his campaign once. Once was enough. And I think there are a lot of conservatives who feel the same way. The only one I see with a chance of winning is Thompson.
mau June 21, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Are we talking about Herb Kohl here? Maybe us taxpayers can build an arena for Hovde?
mau June 21, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Talk about reverse racism. So now I'm supposed to categorize myself into one of these groups because I'm white? Is there supposed to be something wrong with being white?
Mrs. R June 21, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Oh yes, Hovde, another one that won't work with others to find a way to let the nation move on to heal and repair. Sound's like a Tea Party. Oh, and Tommy, he left Washington because: he 'didn't like it there'. So, who would help us best? Let's keep WI bipartisan and elect someone unlike Johnson - you know; the guy who bought his job using his own funds (back in the day hehe).
Mrs. R June 21, 2012 at 09:22 PM
Well said Lyle, however, try to speak to the masses. Even I have to study the wording in order to 'get the message'. I would have liked to have met your mother. The Elites are losing their way and there will be a day of reckoning.
Mrs. R June 21, 2012 at 09:25 PM
@Terry Congratulations on remaining middle class! That used to be a station in life to overcome.
Terry June 21, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Thank you Mrs. R. I believe its all about choices, and in my opinion, that is where all this talk of class warfare falls short. I paid my own way through my education. My parents helped as much as their limited means would allow, but the lions share was my own hard work. I have had opportunities in my life to rise above my station and join the 1%, but that was not the direction my interests led me. Until and if we reach the point in this country where those that through hard work and desire are no longer able to generate those opportunities to rise if that is what they desire, I will continue to view this "us versus them" approach to be nothing more than political posturing.
Terry June 21, 2012 at 09:42 PM
There is some truth to that Lyle... So much of the political discussion today is crafted to fit the "sound bite", and less about the substance of what they actually intend to do. Combine that with the current atmosphere of the politics of hate, you have to work exceptionally hard to discover what a candidates positions actually are. And yes, this does apply to both sides of the road.
Jay Sykes June 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Do any of the current lot of Senate candidates have a library of 'current' position papers available? Frankly, since the about the time of the demise of Glass-Steagall, I've felt that Congress is 'all reactive' and 'no proactive'. To sum it up with my favorite political flip-flop jargon: 'I was for it...before I was against it.'
Brian Carlson June 22, 2012 at 03:06 AM
I would never claim I was not educated Terry. As to being in some elite... I don't see myself in that manner. Is there a non-educated elite as well then? Aren't we really saying, by calling some group "an elite," that we simply don't like them and see them as self serving people who think they are better than us? You seem to be educated...are you in the educated elite? I simply don't get the designations...and believe they focus the conversation on ideas about the way nearly arbitrary groups behave or think. I think this is setting oneself up for misunderstanding and is a conflictive if not combative modality of thought. Better, I think to learn what some individual thinks than to peg her or him as a type that thinks this or that. IMO.
Brian Carlson June 22, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Great example. I probably think, drawing a generalization, that hedge fund managers are on the edge of some sort of morality.... basically they are gamblers who make a hell of a lot of money (legally) betting on spreads as I understand it. An odd line of work to me and hardly that good old roll up the shirtsleeves sort of American stuff we like to muse about. At the same time, Lyle researches Mr. Hovde and finds he also helps out people with M.S. and does other philanthropic work. So... what sort of man is he? I dont know.... I see ads where he says this and that. I saw an ad where he sits in his kitchen behind his daughters and says he doesnt care what the people in the Senate think about him...and sort of gloats or sneers a bit... definitely telling me that he is not out to work WITH anyone. Is it good to have an official that doesn't care what anyone thinks about him? I would want to be thought of as collegial, as collaborative, as smart, as a leader but as a leader who listens, as someone who can operate in a bipartisan fashion for the good of the State, etc. He doesn't evidently. I am just going by what comes out of his mouth. And of course its popular recently, particularly for young politicians to say we are not going to work with anyone. I think that is a poor attitude for a would be leader.
Dirk Gutzmiller June 22, 2012 at 03:56 AM
Terry - You are hard to figure out. What kind of talk do you want from the left? Educated, uneducated, effete, down to earth, entertaining, serious, nuanced, matter-of-fact? You protesteth too much.
Dirk Gutzmiller June 22, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Mau - No, there is nothing wrong with being white, what is wrong is being right (-wing, that is), Why do you vote against your own self interests? Why do you yearn for a right to work state, when you have union ties? What will happen to wages and pensions if the big money boys continue to buy elections? Why do you help rich people get richer, including billionaires Are you subsidizing them, when they pay little or no taxes, and you pay yours? Think about it. Are you being taken as a fool?
Mrs. R June 22, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Back to article topic: Hovde in a "honest debate" would be another 'circus', as with the many Republican Party debates demonstrated. The lack of a true R. Party 'policy consensus' remands a confusing trend. Let's support not repeating that kind of debate process. However, watching Ron Paul continue is the one interesting political aspect for debate in my humble opinion. I voted for him once, and other non-conformists to Republican Party goal demands.
mau June 23, 2012 at 02:21 AM
@Dirk, sounds like you are describing the left. How can you fool yourself to think that there are no rich powerful people on your side manipulating you. Plus you are blind to the fact that the unions are headed up by fat cats who give a crap about you. All they think about is their pocket books and power. They are no different than the bankers or any other greedy people.

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