JANESVILLE, Wis. - Mitt Romney sought Monday to capitalize on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s victory in a contentious recall election and predicted that momentum from that race will help him win the state come November and, with it, the White House.
Wisconsin hasn’t voted for a Republican for president since 1984, and President Obama won big here in 2008. But Republicans sense an opportunity after Walker survived a Democratic push to oust him after he took on public sector unions. So does Romney.
“I think President Obama had just put this in his column,’’ Romney told cheering supporters inside a textile company with Walker at his side as his six-state bus tour brought him to Janesville, about 75 miles southwest of Milwaukee. “He just assumed from the very beginning that Wisconsin was going to be his. But you know what? We’re going to win Wisconsin and we’re going to get in the White House.’’
Romney also was joined by Representative Paul Ryan, the architect of the House Republican budget that would restructure federal entitlement programs. Ryan’s hometown of Janesville was hit hard by the recession; a General Motors plant that once employed thousands closed in 2009.
The stop opened the fourth day of a five-day bus tour that has taken Romney from New Hampshire to Pennsylvania and Ohio. Monday’s itinerary also includes stops in Iowa - for a boat tour in Dubuque and a rally in Davenport. He planned to campaign in Michigan on Tuesday, the final day of the campaign swing.
Ryan is one of several potential vice presidential picks to campaign with Romney during the tour. The likely presidential nominee also has appeared with Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor, and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio.
Heavy with both factories and farms, Ryan’s district in southern Wisconsin is typically carried by Democratic presidential candidates. Obama carried the state by 14 points in 2008 - an unusual margin, given that Democrats John F. Kerry in 2004 and Al Gore in 2000 each won Wisconsin by less than a single percentage point. During the 2008 campaign, Obama delivered a speech in Janesville. But the state has shifted decidedly to the right since then. Walker and Republicans swept into power in 2010, turning the entire state Legislature to their side and knocking Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat, from office.
“We are not really a red state or a blue state. We really aren’t,’’ said state Senator Tim Cullen, a moderate Democrat from Janesville who previously worked as a Cabinet secretary for Tommy Thompson, former Republican governor. “People in this state split their ticket in huge numbers, so it’s not at all unusual to have people vote for Governor Walker and President Obama.’’ - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Obama’s pick for Iraq envoy pulls out of nomination
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration’s pick to be the next ambassador to Iraq withdrew his nomination on Monday amid opposition from Senate Republicans concerned that he may have engaged in improper behavior while working at the US Embassy in Baghdad in 2008.
In a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Brett McGurk said he was removing himself from consideration for the job with a “heavy heart.’’ He said he was doing so after consulting his wife, Gina Chon, because he believed it was in the “best interests of the country, and of our life together, to withdraw my nomination and serve in another capacity.’’ The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter.
McGurk’s nomination, which was to have been voted on Tuesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, had become controversial following the release on the Internet earlier this month of sometimes racy e-mails he sent to a female Wall Street Journal reporter - now his wife - while he was negotiating a security agreement with the Iraqi government during President George W. Bush’s administration. - ASSOCIATED PRESS
Rubio immigration plan stalled after Obama action
WASHINGTON - Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, is dropping plans to introduce legislation that could grant work visas to some young people brought to the United States illegally, according to his spokesman.
Rubio, a potential running mate to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is suspending his plans after President Obama announced June 15 that the government will immediately stop deporting some illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children. Obama said they would be eligible for work permits, in an election-year action with appeal to Latino voters. - BLOOMBERG NEWS