“Passion” is at the heart of the presidential campaign, Gov. Scott Walker believes, and he said Thursday Wisconsin Republicans have enough of it to carry the state for presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
But, he said, Romney needs to show more of that passion — and one way to bring it out would be to campaign more with a pumped up U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan running at his side.
Walker said he knows Romney to be a man of passion, and now, with just less than six weeks left in the campaign, he needs to get out and show it.
“I love seeing Paul Ryan on the stump,” Walker said. “I want to see more of the enthusiasm I saw in Waukesha the day after he was announced, when I saw Mitt and Paul together — because I not only saw Paul pumped up, I saw Mitt Romney pumped up.
“I’ve seen it in Janesville, I’ve seen it in Waukesha, I want to see him more in Wisconsin because this is going to be a key state, and I want to see that kind of passion," the governor said.
“For anybody who’s been at those events,” Walker said, “there’s no doubt that Mitt Romney has passion. I just think nationally, he’s got to stop worrying about the national press and more time literally talking to folks like all of you here.
“I thinks folks in our states, whether it’s here or Ohio or anywhere else, want to hone in and focus about what’s at stake, and I think if Mitt Romney’s has a chance to tell that story, he’s got an impassioned story, he’s got a great story and… he’s got a plan.”
Preibus Still Confident About Romney's Chances Here
Declaring that President Barack Obama has “a Wisconsin problem,” Walker, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus did their best to fire up their grassroots base during a conference call and press conference in Wauwatosa.
Priebus, himself from Wisconsin, talked to teams at all 25 Republican campaign centers in the state, starting with a football analogy to rally the troops.
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Seeming to acknowledge recent polls that have shown Romney beginning to lag, Preibus said: “In any race that’s within a field goal or four points, the ground game can make up everything — and we have been accustomed to crushing the Democrats on the ground in Wisconsin. We’re going to do it again.
“I want to see more of the enthusiasm I saw in Waukesha the day after (Ryan) was announced, when I saw Mitt and Paul together."
“At the end of the day, this is what will make the difference between winning Wisconsin and losing Wisconsin – it’ll all come down to the ground game," Preibus added. "And you know, putting those 10 electoral votes up on the board for the red team is something that will give us so many options in making sure that we get to 270 electoral votes.”
Priebus announced that Republican “Victory Centers” across the state would this week surpass 1 million voter contacts — and Walker said that was four times what state Democrats could claim.
Touting a Republican shift from top-down, broadcast advertising-driven campaigning four years ago, Walker said that this year grassroots supporters had made six times as many phone calls and done 72 times more door-to-door visits than in 2008.
In response, Gillian Morris, Wisconsin press secretary for Obama for America, said in a statement: “Given that Mitt Romney is mired in the roughest three-week stretch of a GOP presidential campaign in history, it doesn’t surprise us at all that they would tout unverifiable numbers that have nothing to do with restoring economic security for the middle class.
"Building economic prosperity from the middle-class out is where the president’s focus has been since he was sworn in, and that’s where it will remain for the final weeks of this campaign.”
Wisconsin to Play a Key Role in Race
Walker referred to a Thursday morning report in the Wall Street Journal that indicated Romney could still win even if Obama wins Ohio. But he would need to win Wisconsin, above all, to do it. The Journal report actually states that for Romney to win without Ohio, he would need to sweep all the other swing states, Wisconsin included.
Walker said that Wisconsin is ahead of other states in grassroots organizing and that he wanted to see that passion spread through the national campaign.
“What we found when we went around in May and June to the Victory Centers throughout the state — (First Lady Tonette Walker) used to love to ask this question: ‘How many people have never been involved in a campaign before?’ And we’d get about half the room, half the Victory Center would raise their hand.
“People would tell me, ‘You know what? There’s just too much at stake not to get involved.”
Whether all that passion and enthusiasm can win Wisconsin, much less the nation, remains to be seen.
State Sen. Mary Lazich, who also was in attendance, was clearly pumped by the energy around her, but said, “Yes, I wish we could bottle some of it up and send it everywhere.”