Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a top figure in the Republican Party and often-mentioned vice presidential candidate, warned the party against reading too much into the results of the Wisconsin recall election as a “harbinger” for the presidential election between Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
Daniels had two main points, appearing on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. First, Daniels said that Gov. Scott Walker’s resounding victory in the recall election was a signal that voters see the “fundamental unfairness” of public-sector unions. But he cautioned against the party using the state’s results to project a national-scale implication this November.
“It would be a huge mistake for Republicans to misread Wisconsin as some kind of great harbinger,” Daniels said. “I don’t see it that way at all. It’s not even clear that Gov. Romney will be that strong in Wisconsin.”
That’s a different position than some other top members of the Republican Party. After Walker’s win on Tuesday, Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus appeared on Fox News and gleefully said, “You bet it’s a sign for November.” Romney himself issued a statement directly after Walker’s victory was announced, saying “tonight’s results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin.”
Just on Friday, the Republican National Committee held a conference call on the party’s “transition” from the recall election to the presidential election. Here’s what Priebus said on the call, echoing his earlier messages:
“What Tuesday’s recall election also did showed the country that Mitt Romney and the GOP are in a good position to compete in Wisconsin in November, and we intend to put our best ground game on the field.”
Whatever the case, polls do show a closer race in Wisconsin than 2008. A recent spate of polls showing bad news for Obama had him up by 5 points in the state. Obama led by 7 points in Wisconsin exit polls, which showed he got 18 per cent of support from Walker voters.
Back to Daniels: He said the real message is that voters now realise that “money is being devoured by very high salaries, almost bulletproof job protection and huge pensions” in public-sector unions. Wallace asked him if he thought there should be no public sector unions.
“I really think government works better without them. I really do,” Daniels said.
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