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Race Tightens Up After 'Good Week' for Romney, RNC Chair Priebus Says

If Mitt Romney stays within 3 percentage points of President Barack Obama in the polls, the GOP candidate will take Wisconsin, Republican National Committee chairman tells volunteers in Waukesha.

If the polls show Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney within 3 percentage points of Barack Obama in Wisconsin, he will win the state, Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, told volunteers in Waukesha Saturday.

“If it is within a field goal, we are going to win this race,” he said during a stop at the GOP campaign office.

So, Priebus was quick to smile when he learned Saturday evening that a new Public Policy Polling poll showed Romney within 2 percentage points of Obama in Wisconsin. Two weeks ago, the same poll had Obama 7 points ahead.

“Don’t forget, that is even a Democratic poll, too,” Priebus said in an interview with Patch. “So, the Democrats say we are only down by two, I think we are doing pretty well. I feel pretty happy about it.

“The thing that matters is Nov. 6. We had a good week and we are going to have a good week next week," Priebus added. "We just have to continue to keep our heads down, win every day and talk about how to save this country, talk about the miserable record of Barack Obama and what Mitt Romney wants to bring to the table.”

“I wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars on TV, volunteers and resources in Wisconsin, if we thought that it was a lost cause."

Volunteers have been busy at the Republican Party of Waukesha County’s headquarters on Pearl Street in Waukesha, making phone calls to encourage Wisconsin residents to vote for Romney.

Statewide, volunteers have already made six times the amount of phone calls and 60 times the amount of door-to-door visits than they did in the 2008 presidential election, according to Priebus.

While Wisconsin is considered a swing state, it hasn’t voted for a Republican president since 1984. But efforts are heavily concentrated in Wisconsin following Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s win in a recall election and Romney selecting Janesville Congressman Ryan as his running mate.

“I wouldn’t be here, we wouldn’t be spending millions of dollars on TV, volunteers and resources in Wisconsin, if we thought that it was a lost cause,” Priebus said. “We always knew that it was close.”

'A Good Week'

Obama was showing a strong lead in Wisconsin just two weeks ago. Public Policy Polling had Obama over Romney in the state by 7 percentage points. As is the case in other swing states, Obama’s has stumbled in the polls following his performance in Wednesday's debate against Romney.

“I feel good about where we are headed in the campaign,” said Priebus, a Wisconsin native. “Obviously, we had a good week last week. Governor Romney did a fabulous job on Wednesday night.

“I think, No. 1, Obama didn’t show up and he has got a record he can’t defend. He is sort of a deer in the headlights when it comes to his own record," he added.

Priebus said he is looking forward to seeing Ryan take on Democrat Joe Biden in Thursday’s vice presidential debate. Ryan is “extremely bright” and understands the issues facing the nation, Priebus said.

While the Republicans shouldn’t discount Biden, Priebus said he’s not concerned about Thursday’s debate because “I believe in Paul.”

“I am looking forward to my good buddy Paul on Thursday night,” Priebus said. “I don’t think, Joe Biden, (that) you can take him lightly. I know he puts his foot in his mouth a lot, but he is a relatable guy, he is pretty quick on his feet, so I think it is going to be an interesting debate — obviously with two very different styles.”

Unemployment Numbers

While some Republican skeptics have questioned the Bureau of Labor Statistics release of unemployment data showing unemployment has dropped to 7.8 percent nationwide, Priebus wouldn’t say whether he thinks the numbers are skewed to provide political help toward the Obama campaign.

But he does question whether the unemployment drop is enough to move the country forward.

“Economists across America are debating the accuracy of these numbers,” Priebus said. “But my position is that if in fact they are accurate, I think it is always better for this country to have news like that.

“I would be foolish to think it is not better to have more people employed — of course it is. But the fact is, the overall picture is not good for this country," he said. "This president didn’t fulfill the mission and the promises that he made in regard to unemployment. Even if 7.8 (percent) is the right number, if he is celebrating that number, he is living on a different planet."

Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said the numbers show Obama has been able to right the economic ship since he took office in 2008.

"We were headed into the worst economic decline of the previous administration and that has now been reversed," he said. "What does Mitt Romney want to do? He wants to employ the exact same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. After his party drove the car into the ditch, he's asking for the keys back."

Barrett and Big Bird

Priebus stopped by Waukesha before heading to a GOP fundraiser in Milwaukee that raised about $2.8 million for the campaign, according to the Journal Sentinel. Ryan was the headliner at the event, which also was attended by U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and 200 guests.

Before the fundraiser got under way at the Pfister Hotel, Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett held a press conference just blocks away to announce his support for another public figure who has recently been thrust into the political arena.

Riffing off a remark made by Romney in the presidential debate Wednesday, Barrett stood side by side with Big Bird from "Sesame Street," casting his official endorsement for the children's television character.

Barrett said his children grew up watching "Sesame Street," as do most other households across the country.

"Over 80 percent of children in this country watch 'Sesame Street' and watch Big Bird, so why in God's name would he want to go after 'Sesame Street' when the people in this country want him to go after Wall Street?" Barrett asked.

When asked about Ryan's contribution to the Romney campaign, Barrett said Wisconsin initially saw a bump in support for Romney, but that support has waned as people learn more about Ryan's budget proposal and his plan to overhaul Medicare. Even Senate candidate Tommy Thompson is backing away from "the Ryan plan," Barrett said.

"I think now as people are looking more closely at that plan, they are saying, 'Wait a minute. We don't want this," Barrett said.

Patch editor Jeff Rumage contributed to this story

Michael McClusky October 09, 2012 at 12:29 PM
@Seth Green You are right! More people should take a closer look at Gary Johnson. Lord knows that the two major party candidates have been bought off by 'dark money'.
Bernard Forand October 09, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Bren; Agree WW II increased productivity. It was a contributing factor to Truman’s {D} surplus annual budget surplus! One of two presidents that produced surplus. Both were {D}. Obama had 6 months of control of the congress and was able to reduce the $1.4 Trillion annual deficit budget to $1.2 Trillion. Exhibiting another potential for a financial surplus president. Republicans since Kennedy died have used that to set unprecedented filibusters’ to stop Obama from achieving that goal. By comparing the two parties on a 80 year cycle we can see just who gives us more bang for our bucks. Democrats had a respectable average return of 9.6% as when compared to republicans 0.58% average returns. Now if we could return control to Obama, he may yet pull it off. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/may/23/facebook-posts/viral-facebook-post-says-barack-obama-has-lowest-s/ Pulitzer Prize Awarded site
morninmist October 10, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Romney has no shame. He will even use a dead soldier for his political gain. @thinkprogress Mother of Navy SEAL killed in Libya demands Romney stop talking about him in stump speech http://thkpr.gs/PXJB7y ...Boston’s local NBC affiliate WHDH reported this morning that Doherty’s mother objected to Romney using the story in a campaign speech. “I don’t trust Romney. He shouldn’t make my son’s death part of his political agenda. It’s wrong to use these brave young men, who wanted freedom for all, to degrade Obama,” said Barbara Doherty. WHDH even suggested that it reached out to Romney’s campaign for comment, reporting that “there was no response from the Romney camp.” Yet Romney used the same story in stump speech today in Ohio. Watch it: .....
John Wilson October 10, 2012 at 06:59 PM
mornimist – Willard loves the middleclass and he will use what he can from them to GET THE POWER… It hardly matters what Mrs. Barbara Doherty, the mother of the dead Navy SEAL, Glen Doherty, wants or says; It is ALL ABOUT WILLARD! Remember, Willard fought the entire Vietnam War from Paris, France, so it isn’t like the man hasn’t actually been deeply involved in the combat theatre…
morninmist October 11, 2012 at 06:29 PM
But because of the TEAGOP we are!! @RWwatchMA "We should not be fighting about equal pay for equal work and access for birth control in 2012"-E.Warren http://huff.to/SSGI8i #masen #mapoli

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