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Week in Review: High-profile visitors stump in heated Recall Land

By   /   June 1, 2012  /   News  /   3 Comments

By Kirsten Adshead | Wisconsin Reporter

MADISON — Somewhere this week, in a land seemingly far, far away, something else is happening.

New Mexico is fighting the largest fire in its state history, spanning more than 300 square miles thus far.

The Public Library of Science’s Neglected Tropical Diseases is warning that the Chagas illness is “the new AIDS of the Americas.”

And Mary-Kate Olsen, 25, appears to be dating 42-year-old Olivier Sarkozy, the younger brother of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. That one’s just weird.

Life goes on outside Recall Land.

But here, in the place once simply known as the State of Wisconsin, it remains all recall, all the time.

They’re coming to Wisconsin

Former President Bill Clinton
rallied with Tom Barrett  on Friday in Milwaukee in a high-profile show of support for the mayor’s bid to unseat Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday.

Democratic Governors Association Chairman Martin O’Malley and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the head of the Democratic National Committee, also rallied the Democratic vote this week in Wisconsin.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley joined Walker on Friday in Sussex, the latest in a string of conservative governors to stump for him.

John Doe versus Milwaukee police

“I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.”

Thus, in one sentence during Thursday’s gubernatorial debate, Barrett summarized his version of the issues that kept him and Walker in each other’s cross hairs this week.

Walker and his supporters have hammered away on Barrett after an investigation by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that determined more than 500 cases of aggravated assault were downgraded to simple assault by the Milwaukee Police Department since 2009, suggesting that violent crimes have risen by 1.1 percent since 2010, instead of the 2.3 percent reported previously.

“If Tom Barrett is willing to cover up hundreds of violent crimes in Milwaukee, what else is he hiding?” asks Walker’s latest ad titled “Truthful.”

Meanwhile, the Barrett camp’s determination to keep the ongoing John Doe investigation in the news was aided Thursday by reports that a 13th person, Walker’s former spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin, has been granted immunity in the investigation into the activities of people who worked for Walker while he was Milwaukee County executive.

Walker has set up a criminal defense fund.

But he has not been charged, or even implicated, in the investigation.

How close is it?

Walker has taken a 7-point lead among likely voters, according to a Marquette Law School poll released Wednesday.

Barrett’s campaign, however, said its internal polling, conducted after the first of two debates between the candidates, shows a neck-and-neck race.

The new Marquette poll shows Walker with a 52 percent to 45 percent edge over Barrett among 600 likely voters.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch
also led her recall opponent, Mahlon Mitchell, 46 percent to 41 percent.

The pollsters said, though, that the gap in both races is not statistically significant.

“If Wisconsin goes red, it’s lights out for Barack Obama,” said Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman.

Priebus, a Kenosha native and former Wisconsin Republican Party chairman, chatted with home state reporters Wednesday, about the upcoming recalls.

The Marquette poll shows Obama leading presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney 51 percent to 43 percent among likely voters, five months before the presidential election.

The poll of 720 registered and eligible voters, conducted May 23-26, has a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points for “likely voter” questions. The registered voter sample has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.