Monday, June 4, 2012

June 4th, 2012 Edition

Walker Nears the Finish Line
by Robert Costa
June 4, 2012

Madison, Wis. — Ever since he reformed Wisconsin’s collective-bargaining laws last year, Governor Scott Walker has been cast as a villain (and worse) by the public-sector unions. Tuesday’s labor-fueled recall election has put his political career at risk. Yet in an interview over the weekend, Walker was startlingly calm about the upcoming contest. The explanation for his steady nerves is simple: He thinks he’ll win.

Here in the liberal capital, Walker tells me, it’s easy for bureaucrats and their allies to buy into the unions’ recall hype — that there’s a mass movement of citizens ready to oust the governor for asking state employees to pay a little more for their generous benefits. But as he travels around the Badger State, beyond the Madison hothouse, Walker hears a different story. Voters, he says, are fed up with the Left’s temper tantrum, which has sustained a fiercely partisan climate of perpetual campaigns.

“The best thing is when I go out to farms and factories, just about anywhere in the state, and meet people who come off of the line, who come off of the farm, and tell me that they’re praying for Tonette, my wife, and our family,” Walker says. “On a personal level, that’s such a blessing and so reassuring.” Beyond that, the strong anecdotal support for his policies, Walker says, gave him the sense months ago that, as loud as things got in Madison and elsewhere, he’d have a silent majority on his side.

"Remember, I said back in November, when they started this recall petition drive, that I welcomed this,” Walker says. “I welcome the opportunity to talk about our reforms and our plans to move the state forward. And we've largely been effective at that. It’s also why my opponents don’t run ads talking about our reforms or about our plan for jobs. They have moved on to anything but that since we have made our case rather aggressively.”

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E-Book: Fox's Bret Baier Warned Juan Williams Newt Would Take Advantage of 'Food Stamp President' Question
by Tim Graham
June 4, 2012

Matt Lewis at The Daily Caller reports a new E-book by RealClearPolitics’ Washington editor Carl Cannon and executive editor Tom Bevan contains a juicy media tidbit. During preparation for the January 16 Myrtle Beach GOP debate, Fox News anchor Bret Baier and his producers voiced concern that if Juan Williams asked Newt Gingrich a question about black Americans demanding “jobs, not food stamps,” that Gingrich could hit back hard, “attempting to turn Williams into a prop, as he had done with both Chris Wallace and Baier in a debate in Ames, Iowa.”

But Williams persisted in his planned spin. “I need to ask it this way...because it’s offensive.”

Noel Sheppard captured what happened next: Newt didn't back down one iota.

JUAN WILLIAMS, FOX NEWS: Speaker Gingrich, the suggestion you made was about a lack of work ethic, and I gotta tell you my email account, my Twitter account has been inundated with people of all races, who are asking if your comments are not intended to belittle the poor and racial minorities. You saw some of this reaction during your visit to a black church in South Carolina. [Audience boos]

We saw some of this during your visit to a black church in South Carolina where a woman asked you why you refer to President Obama as The Food Stamp President. It sounds as if you are seeking to belittle people. [Audience boos]

NEWT GINGRICH: Well, first of all, Juan, the fact is that more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history. Now, I know among the politically correct you are not supposed to use facts that are uncomfortable. [Audience applause]
Second, you are the one who earlier raised a key point. There's a, the area on I-73 was called by Barack Obama a corridor of shame because of unemployment. Has it improved in three years? No. They haven't built the road, they haven't helped the people, they haven't done anything.
[Audience applause]
So, one last thing. So here's my point. I believe every American of every background has been endowed by their Creator with the right to pursue happiness, and if that makes liberals unhappy, I'm going to continue to find ways to help poor people learn how to get a job, learn how to get a better job, and learn some day to own the job.

The RCP book explains Fox didn't come back around to how Gingrich would spin the question:

The meeting adjourned with an agreement to construct a second question to help “redirect” Gingrich if he tried to spin the question back on Williams. Jon Huntsman’s exit from the race the morning of the debate left Baier’s crew scrambling to revise the script and reorder the questions, and they never got around to discussing Williams’s follow-up....

As Juan asked Gingrich the question, the book reports, a Fox News producer in the control booth yelled: “Juan, don’t do this!”

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