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Here and Now

Reporter Zac Schultz provides an overview of the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl between Republican Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor, and Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin.

Here and Now

Anchor Frederica Freyberg profiles the November election in Wisconsin’s 8th District between Republican Congressman Reid Ribble and Democrat Jamie Wall.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin still leads Republican Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race according to a poll released Monday.  The news comes even as the same poll found support for President Obama declining.
The firm Public Policy Polling, or PPP, surveyed the same group of Wisconsin voters about both the U.S. Senate race and the race for the White House. It found President Obama's lead over Mitt Romney had shrunk to just two points--a drop of five points from the last time they polled. Baldwin, meanwhile, retained a three point lead. PPP's Tom Jensen said it was the third time in the last month that they'd found Baldwin leading by three or four points, "Thompson certainly has time to make up this deficit right now. But the race is definitely settled into a situation where voters aren't particularly high on him and Baldwin has this persistent, small lead."
Particularly telling, Jensen said, was the fact that those surveyed...

Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin says Republican opponent Tommy Thompson is inconsistent on his plan for changing Medicare.
At a Milwaukee forum last Friday, Thompson denied accusations that he wants to end Medicare. Instead, Thompson said people who will be under age 55 in 2020, should be given the choice of choosing a Medicare system that Thompson says is going broke,  or opting into a federal health insurance program available to members of Congress and the President. Democrat Tammy Baldwin says that's a change from Thompson's earlier views, "Perhaps like Romney during the debate, he's going to skip away from the positions he's taken."
Baldwin says in the past, Thompson has endorsed Congressman Paul Ryan's plan to create a voucher option for some future Medicare recipients. Thompson is now insisting he has a different Medicare fix than what his party's Vice Presidential candidate is proposing. Congresswoman Baldwin spoke in Milwaukee, as she accepted the endorsement of the Alliance...

State Democrats are criticizing Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson on his owning multiple homes, and not being able to quickly remember all of them. 
A story in a Milwaukee newspaper reports former Governor Thompson owns four homes, including a Florida mansion purchased last year.  When Thompson was quizzed about the properties last week, at first he said he has three homes, but his campaign staff later acknowledged a fourth site, a million dollar condo near the Wisconsin Dells. The paper also reported Thompson rapidly bought and sold condos in Washington D.C. over the last decade.   State Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate says Thompson is out of touch with average people in Wisconsin.
"He went to Washington, made millions of dollars."
The Thompson campaign did not respond to a request for comment. The campaign did issue press releases about the national rifle association endorsing Thompson and a new Thompson ad that accuses Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin of lying...

Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson is insisting he wants to improve Medicare and Medicaid, not end them. Thompson offered a new plan at a luncheon Friday in Milwaukee. 
Democrats have been airing a TV commercial that features a video of Thompson telling a conservative group, who better than me to do away with Medicaid and Medicare.
Thompson insists what he meant when he spoke months ago, and what he means now is to improve the two health care programs. He says he can use the experience gained from his 14 years as Wisconsin governor and four years being Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush.  At the Milwaukee Press Club Friday afternoon, Thompson offered a new idea for people who will be younger than 55 in the year 2020.
Thompson declined an offer to explain his plan more fully to news reporters, and an aide has not responded to an e-mail asking for more...

The campaign staff of Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson tried to keep the news media away from Thompson Friday afternoon, as a reporter questioned the candidate about property Thompson owns in other states.
When politicians finish speaking to the Milwaukee Press Club, they're usually available for additional questions from the media. But Friday, Thompson tried to quickly leave a press club luncheon. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Columnist Dan Bice waited for Thompson out on the sidewalk and started asking the former governor a few questions including about homes Thompson owns elsewhere, "You just bought a house in Florida last year, right (yeh) you had nine condos in Washington.”
As he got into the passenger seat of his SUV, Thompson replied that he's always voted in Wisconsin and came home almost every weekend. Bice tried to ask Thompson more questions, but Thompson aide Lisa Boothe insisted the vehicle door be shut, "We can't close the door if you don’t move,...

Just as job numbers were watched closely in Wisconsin's recall campaign, today's drop in the national unemployment rate was being talked up by President Obama. But Gov. Scott Walker says it won't hurt Mitt Romney's chances.
While Romney himself called the drop in the unemployment misleading, Walker told reporters today that it was a good sign, "Absolutely. And the hope is that that will continue."
But the governor stopped short of saying the numbers were a validation of Obama administration policies, "Well, if you look, the stimulus was passed a few years ago and if that was the case, it would have happened right after that. You had up until now 43 consecutive months of unemployment above 8 percent. For the first time we have a drop into 7.8. It is still, I think, more of a reflection of people regardless of the government trying to persevere and try to move forward."
Walker contends the new national...

President Barack Obama addressed an audience of tens of thousands packed onto the campus of the UW-Madison Thursday. The president said Mitt Romney did not tell the truth when the two men debated Wednesday night.
The president told the crowd that the Mitt Romney they all know was not the Romney they saw in the debate, "Whoever it was that was on stage last night doesn't want to be held accountable for what the real Mitt Romney's been saying for the last year. And that's because he knows full well that we don't want what he's been selling over the last year."
The president made several such references to drive home his point, working in a jab at Romney's time at the private equity firm Bain Capital, "The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that were called pioneers of outsourcing jobs to other countries. The guy on stage last night, he said,...

A few hours before President Obama spoke in Madison Thursday, members of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity gathered a few miles away from the UW campus, and held a news conference to attack the President's economic policy.  
About 50 people showed up for the AFP rally and phone banking event at a VFW post on the shores of Lake Monona. In the parking lot was a black bus   with President Obama's picture on it and in bold white lettering the word's Obama's Failing Agenda. Beside that a list of what AFP President Tim Phillips calls the President's failing economic report card, "Unemployment's still up, the deficit and debt are just crushing us, we've  got gas prices at double what they were when he took office, and it's hurting people .We've gotta change this president's policy."
Phillips says the "Failing Agenda" bus tour is not a partisan effort to elect or defeat anyone. Instead it's what...

Here and Now

The day after the first presidential debate, President Barack Obama visits Wisconsin for the second time in two weeks, holding a rally on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus.

Here and Now

Manitowoc businessman Jon Miller breaks down Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin’s plan to create jobs in Wisconsin.

Here and Now

Steve Bass of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce breaks down Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson’s plan to create jobs in Wisconsin.

Here are some pictures Shawn Johnson sent from today's rally on the UW-Madison campus.

Democrats say a strong showing by President Obama will help them retain control of the state Senate in the upcoming election. But Republicans say the districts in play favor them. 
Democrats currently hold a 17-16 seat edge in the state Senate, but the decision by Conover Democrat Jim Holperin not to run again has left that Senate district wide open. Republican Assemblyman Tom Tiffany faces Democrat Susan Sommer in that race. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Mark Miller told a Wispolitics forum that it's a tough race for Democrats but that President Obama's poll numbers bode well for them, "It's very exciting to see the advancement, the lead that the top of the ticket has taken because I think that's going to help pull candidates along."
But Republican Senate Minority Leader Scott Fitzgerald says the Holperin seat is a Republican district by the numbers, as is the Senate district held by Oshkosh Democrat Jess King. She faces Republican Rick...

The Democrat challenging Paul Ryan in the House race in southern Wisconsin is turning up the pressure on the Republican incumbent to hold a congressional campaign debate.
Paul Ryan is running for both vice president and for re-election to the House of Representatives. Ryan is gearing up for a vice presidential debate next week, but Democratic House candidate Rob Zerban also wants to debate Ryan soon. Zerban dropped off a couple boxes of petition signatures from debate supporters at Ryan's house campaign office in Janesville.
Zerban concedes that most of the 50,000 signatures he says are on the forms are from outside Wisconsin. But he says newspaper editorial boards and others  in Wisconsin are also calling for a Ryan-Zerban debate.
Ryan's House campaign says Democrats running for vice president and congress have not agreed to congressional debates over the last 15 years. The campaign calls Zerban's signature drop-off a stunt. Ryan's TV commercials for his House race...

The latest poll by Marquette University shows Democrats continuing to lead among likely Wisconsin voters in the races for the White House and U.S. Senate. 
In the Senate race, the latest Marquette survey had Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin leading former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson 48-44 percent. That's down from mid-September when the same survey had Baldwin leading 50-41.
Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says the numbers reflect a boost in TV ads by Thompson and Republican groups, offsetting the money advantage Baldwin enjoyed after the Republican primary, "What we're seeing is a campaign that's beginning to ramp up."
In the race for Wisconsin's 10 electoral votes, President Barack Obama maintained a 53-42 percent lead over Mitt Romney. That's down just slightly from Obama's 14-point lead last month.
Franklin's poll also asked people how likely they were to change their minds based on presidential debates like the one being held tonight, "And only 2 percent said they were...

New radio and TV ads running in Wisconsin hope to sway Latino voters to cast their ballots for President Obama. 
The progressive group People for the American Way says its spending $1 million in Wisconsin and two other states on direct mail and commercials.
The ad includes a Spanish-speaking narrator talking over sound of Republican Mitt Romney criticizing 47 percent of Americans at a fundraiser this year. The ad will run on several Spanish-language cable TV and radio stations in Wisconsin. Scott Foval of People for the American Way says it's fair to imply that the targets of Romney's criticism included Latinos, "There's an inherent racism that is built into what he is saying in front of this predominantly white, very wealthy audience. You're seeing the real Mitt Romney."
Romney has reached out to Latino voters, promising a bi-partisan solution to problems with illegal immigration.
A Romney spokesman didn't reply to an e-mailed question about the...

As more polls show the President and other Democrats widening their leads in key swing states, some Republicans are accusing pollsters of oversampling Democrats. But a prominent Wisconsin pollster says that's flat out wrong.
Who you survey is going to influence the answers you get, and many Republicans argue today's pollsters are deliberately surveying too many Democrats and not enough Republicans. Asked whether that's the case with his monthly Marquette University surveys, pollster Charles Franklin answers an unequivocal no, "There's no deliberate sampling of Democrats or Republicans or Independents. There is no list of such people to sample from."
Franklin says his surveys and others aren't trying to mimic the partisan makeup of the last presidential election, which was a landmark year for Democrats.  They are random surveys, he says. The number of Democrats and Republicans who are included are based on how people identify themselves, "We use the people who say they're absolutely certain to vote in...

Here and Now

Reporter Zac Schultz sits down for an in-depth one-on-one interview with Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson.