By M.D. Kittle | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON — It was an interesting, if ill-fitting, musical selection.
Moments before a Mitt Romney campaign-orchestrated phone conference call with Republican Gov. Scott Walker and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin on Wednesday morning, the gentle strains of a Muzak version of Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” played for the reporters on hold.
Any feeling of affection quickly dissipated after Walker and Johnson jumped on the call, launching into a full-scale attack on President Barack Obama and what they described as the incumbent’s four years of failure.
Wisconsin’s conservative icons, however, reiterated their whole-hearted agreement with Obama’s vice president.
Hammering on Joe Biden’s comment in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday that middle income America has been “buried” during the past four years, Walker and Johnson pointed to the troubling economic numbers dogging Obama’s re-election bid.
“We were amazed to hear the vice president so clearly explain what this election is all about,” Walker said, laying out the case for Republican presidential hopeful Romney fewer than 12 hours before the election season’s first presidential debate.
Biden attempted to clarify his comments Tuesday, asserting the policies of Romney and running mate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, would hurt middle-income earners.
“The middle class was buried by the policies that Romney and Ryan supported,” Biden said, as reported by CBS News.
Walker and Johnson ticked off the list of bad economic news:
- Median income down $4,500
- Unemployment above 8 percent – often well above – since Obama’s first month in office
- A record 46 million Americans on food stamps
“We can’t afford four more years” of Obama, Walker said.
“The middle class is the group that’s going to be stung most, forced to pay for massive expansion of government,” the governor added, alluding to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, labeled as Obamacare by Republicans like Johnson who vow to repeal and replace the health-care law.
The Republicans did not mention that unemployment has been ticking down, albeit slowly, since its high water mark of 10 percent in October 2009, and that the U.S. economy has added some 4.5 million jobs since the economy bottomed out in January 2010.
Still, there is no escaping that on the president’s watch, 400,000 fewer people were working in August than were working when Obama took office.
Johnson said he ran and won Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race in 2010 in the wake of anxiety over the cost of the health care law, and the rapidly rising U.S. debt. Some $2.5 trillion more in debt later, Johnson asked, “What has changed since then?” The senator asserts the 2012 election will look a lot like 2010, when Republicans swept into power in Wisconsin.
But the polls show Obama with an increasing lead over Romney in Wisconsin.
Walker said that would change with the debates as Romney has a better opportunity to introduce voters to his policy proposals, initiatives the former Massachusetts governor has pledged would create 12 million jobs while reforming burdensome regulations on business.
“That’s why the debates are going to be so important,” Walker said. “A lot of folks aren’t clear about the Romney plan. The more he explains the more the race moves toward Mitt Romney in Wisconsin.”
Romney has to this point provided limited details on his plan to turn the sluggish economy around.
Contact Kittle at firstname.lastname@example.org