WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he doesn’t expect broad political repercussions from Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s success holding on to his office. He adds, however, that he would have “loved to see a different result.”
Obama told television station WBAY in Green Bay, Wis., on Monday that Walker’s recall election reflected specific circumstances in Wisconsin. He downplayed any effect on his political chances in the state, saying it was unusual for a governor to get that much attention in the middle of his term.
Obama has faced questions about why he didn’t spend time campaigning in the state on behalf of Democratic challenger Tom Barrett. In response, Obama says: “I’ve got a lot of responsibilities.”
Walker faced a recall after pushing through legislation eliminating most public workers’ collective bargaining rights.
Walker’s solid victory served as a warning for Obama about the potential hurdles he faces as he fights to hang onto a traditionally Democratic battleground he won comfortably in 2008. And, at least for now, it gave presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney a reason to feel optimistic about his chances of winning a state that has voted for the Democratic nominee in the past six elections.
The election tested voter attitudes toward Walker’s aggressive governing style as well as a law that ended collective bargaining for most public employees and teachers.
“Gov. Romney has an opportunity … to come in between now and Nov. 6 and make the case that he’s willing to make those same sort of tough decisions,” Walker told Fox News Channel on the eve of his victory.
Romney now plans to compete in the state aggressively, looking to capitalize on the Republican momentum that carried Walker to victory. His team considers Wisconsin a top target, along with Florida, Ohio and Virginia, and more attractive than even Romney’s native Michigan, where the campaign had hoped to establish an Upper Midwest beachhead.
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