Entries in Wisconsin (120)


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker Signs Bill to Restrict Abortions

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- Wisconsin abortion providers are criticizing Governor Scott Walker for signing a controversial bill after the Fourth of July holiday. The bill requires women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound of the beforehand, so that they can see the fetus that they would be aborting.

Republican state Senator Mary Lazich, the sponsor of the bill said, "This wasn't the only bill. I don't know, there must have been at least maybe a dozen or more that he signed today." The abortion bill would also require all doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their practice.

Planned parenthood has already filed a lawsuit challenging the new law.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the bill would cut the number of abortion clinics in the state from four to two and would force one of the remaining two to dramatically limit the number of abortions they provide.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Scott Walker Not Mulling White House Run -- Yet

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MADISON, Wis.) -- Could the governor from Wisconsin win the 2016 GOP presidential nomination?

At the moment, Scott Walker has more immediate concerns, namely a scandal involving former aides who investigators claim did some shady things when Walker was Milwaukee county executive.

In a probe dating back two years, former Walker underling Timothy Russell was accused of taking $20,000 from a program to assist veterans.

On Tuesday, Russell accepted a plea bargain, admitting that he embezzled from the tax-payer funded Heritage Guard Preservation Society as well as filching money from two candidates for the Milwaukee County Board.  It's likely Russell will do some jail time.  

Meanwhile, two other former Walker aides previously copped plea bargains.

Walker insisted again on Tuesday that he's not part of the scandal, saying that after two years, "if there were bigger concerns, they'd be coming to us about those."

As for presidential aspirations, Walker, who survived a recall election earlier this year, maintains he's focused on the job at hand although Republicans outside Wisconsin believe the public will forget about his problems with unions once 2016 rolls around.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Tammy Baldwin Wins Wisconsin, Becoming the First Openly Gay US Senator

US Congress(NEW YORK) -- ABC News projects that Tammy Baldwin has won the U.S. Senate race in Wisconsin, making history as the first openly gay U.S. senator.

Baldwin's win keeps the Senate seat long held by retiring Sen. Herb Kohl in Democratic hands, and ends a bitter race that pitted two longtime Wisconsin politicians against each other.

Opponent Tommy Thompson, a former Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential contender, was well known in the state and nationally. And Baldwin served three terms in the Wisconsin Assembly before successfully running for Congress.

In her victory speech in Wisconsin, Baldwin acknowledged that she makes history as both Wisconsin's first female senator and the country's first openly gay senator.

"Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor of being Wisconsin's first woman senator. And I am well aware that I will be the first openly gay member," Baldwin said to loud cheers and chants of "Tammy, Tammy!" from her supporters. "But I didn't run to make history. I ran to make a difference."

Few states have become more crucial to the political aspirations of both parties as Wisconsin has been in the past 24 months. Once a reliably Democratic state, Wisconsin has now been a target for Republican political efforts after the GOP made significant gains in the House of Representatives, the governor's mansion and in the state legislature.

Democrats hoped to keep the seat in their party's hands, while Republicans viewed the open race as an opportunity to make a second gain in the Senate in Wisconsin.

A Thompson win would have given Republicans two Senate seats in the state for the first time since the 1950s. Republican Ron Johnson ousted longtime Democrat Russ Feingold in 2010.

Thompson called Baldwin to concede what had been a highly contentious race. And on Tuesday night, Baldwin called for unity.

"Tommy and I didn't always agree — in fact, in this campaign we didn't agree on much. But there can be no doubt that he shares my love and all of our love in Wisconsin," Baldwin said. "Tonight I want to reach out to his supporters and ask them to join me in standing up for our belief that we are all in this together."

In late summer, Wisconsin also went from a likely Democratic state to a presidential hotbed when Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin native Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate.

The Baldwin-Thompson race was among the most expensive Senate races in the country, according to the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute. Outside groups poured more than $40.2 million into the state and the two candidates raised $20 million combined.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Hangs Onto Congress Seat in Wisconsin

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Paul Ryan knows he will be headed to Washington, D.C., again next year even though his presidential ticket failed to win election.

Ryan will begin serving his eighth term as a U.S. congressman representing the 1st District of Wisconsin in 2013.

ABC News is projecting that Ryan beat out his Democratic challenger Tuesday night in Wisconsin to hang on to the House seat he has held there for 14 years. Ryan ran for vice president alongside presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but the pair is projected to lose to President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Ryan's challenger in Wisconsin, Rob Zerban, had said he hoped Ryan would drop out of the congressional race once he joined Romney's presidential ticket, but Ryan continued to fight to hold his seat.

Ryan rose to prominence in Congress during his seven previous terms there, serving most recently as chairman of the House Budget Committee. He drew praise for his budget proposal, which became a controversial part of the Romney campaign when Ryan was announced as his running mate in August.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Brings His Kids to Vote, Predicts Victory

J.D. Pooley/Getty Images(JANESVILLE, Wis.) -- Paul Ryan and his wife Janna took their three young children with them to vote Tuesday morning, telling reporters that after two and a half months on the road “it felt good waking up in my hometown.”

When asked after he voted at the Hedberg Public Library in Janesville, Wis., if his ticket will be victorious Tuesday night, Ryan answered, “I think we are, I feel good about it.”

Dressed in a dark suit and silver tie, he told reporters: “I feel great today.”

“It’s a great tradition,” Ryan said after voting.  “It’s Election Day.  I’m very excited to be here.  I’ve been voting here a long time.”

He laughed when asked who he is voting for, answering, “It will be suspenseful.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee held his final rally of the 2012 campaign late Monday night in Milwaukee and he said on Tuesday “it felt good coming to this neighborhood I grew up in.”

“I went to junior high about 60 yards that way,” Ryan said of the polling place.  “So it’s great to be here in my hometown.”

Ryan and his wife moved ahead of voters in line and while the woman registering them could not immediately find their name, the Ryans’ 10-year-old daughter Liza could, pointing to the page and reading, “Paul D. Ryan.”

Ryan took his youngest child, 7-year-old Sam, as well as Liza with him as he filled out his ballot.

After voting, he quickly headed to his campaign plane receiving hugs from family traveling with him on Tuesday, including mom Betty Douglas and brothers Tobin and Stan Ryan.

He heads next to Cleveland for an event with his running mate before making another quick stop in Richmond, Va.  He will then travel to Boston for their election night party and to watch the returns.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Returns Home to Wisconsin for Final Rally

Scott Olson/Getty Images(MILWAUKEE) -- Paul Ryan held his final rally of the campaign in his home state Monday night, telling his fellow Wisconsinites that while they may not have been in the presidential spotlight in a long time, that time is now over.

“They have always taken us for granted, Wisconsin,” Ryan said to a crowd of 2,500, including Wisconsin political leaders and many family members.  “They thought it was easy.  We haven’t gone Republican since 1984.  One more day… Let’s prove them wrong.”

The last time the Badger State went red in a presidential election was in 1984 when Ronald Reagan defeated Walter Mondale in a landslide, but Mitt Romney’s selection of Ryan as a running mate has helped to put Wisconsin in contention.

The GOP vice presidential nominee was introduced by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who he warmly embraced when he took the stage.  Walker noted that five months ago Monday night he overcame the recall effort there.

“We’ve got one more left,” Ryan said, referring to one more election.  “We’ve had a lot of elections here in Wisconsin lately.  We know how they work and we know how to win them.”

Polls still suggest a slight lead for President Obama in Wisconsin, but Republicans, including Ryan, frequently point to their success fending off a recall of Walker and Republican state legislators as evidence of an effective ground game.  On Monday night, Ryan even noted “we know how to win…we know how to get people to the polls.”

Ryan told the crowd that this home state rally was a “special moment” for him to be home in “God’s country” and he and his family have had an “incredible” time on their two and half month sprint to this moment.

“I’ve got to tell you the experience that Janna and Liza and Sam and Charlie and I have had together, meeting with people around this country has warmed our hearts it has been incredible, so many Americans have come out to get their country back on the right track,” Ryan said.

The rally, which ended just before the clock struck Nov. 6, marked the end of a marathon three-day sprint around the country that took the Wisconsin congressman to nine of the 11 states in contention.  On Monday, he campaigned in five states in four time zones, hopping out of his campaign plane and into rallies mostly in airplane hangars in Nevada, Colorado, Iowa and Ohio, and ending in Wisconsin.

Ryan will vote in his home town of Janesville, Wis., Tuesday morning with his wife, and although Monday evening was supposed to be his final event of the 2012 cycle, the Romney campaign added two more stops to the schedule late Monday night.  Ryan will return to Ohio on Tuesday, stopping in Cleveland then traveling to Richmond, Va., before heading to Boston to be with Romney as the results come in.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Biden Highlights Jobs Report, Criticizes GOP over Auto Industry

Scott Olson/Getty Images(BELOIT, Wis.) – Speaking less than half an hour away from Rep. Paul Ryan’s hometown of Janesville, Vice President Joe Biden lauded Friday’s jobs report and highlighted that the GOP vice presidential nominee won’t acknowledge the Obama administration’s role in saving the auto industry.
“We've made real progress. We've created 5.4 million new private sector jobs. Look and today, today we learned that companies in America hired more workers in October than any time in the last eight months. Housing starts, housing starts at the highest level since July of ‘08. Exports are up 41 percent, 500,000 new manufacturing jobs since 2010. Three million more working class families' children in college today because of Pell grants,” Biden said.
“I know the guy next door doesn't recognize it, but we actually did rescue the automobile industry and saved a million jobs, a million jobs saved and 200,000 new jobs continuing to expand,” he added.
Democrats have hammered away at Mitt Romney over the past week for a misleading ad suggesting the president allowed Jeep to move jobs to China, and the vice president suggested Friday that the Italian government, along with two major U.S. automobile industries have scolded Romney for airing the untruthful spot.
“Even the Italian government took issue with this.  No, I’m serious.  They were offended.  Like, what’s he have against Italians?” Biden said.
But while GM and Chrysler have rebuked the GOP nominee for the ad, the Italian government has not issued a statement criticizing Romney as the vice president said.
Biden drew on his normal critiques of Romney on foreign policy, women’s issues and offering tax breaks to the wealthy, but he slipped up when citing just how much the GOP nominee made last year, a mix-up the vice president attributed to his “middle class roots."
“Remember when he was asked on 60 minutes, he was asked do you think it’s fair that you make $20,000 last year” Biden said before people in the crowd shouted “million! 20 Million!”
The vice president then made the sign of the cross and said, “I guess my middle class roots are showing.  20 million it’s hard to even think about that.  The town I lived in didn’t make 20 million.”
Biden is on his last trip to Wisconsin this election cycle, a state he’s visited consistently since Ryan was selected as Romney’s running mate.  The vice president told the Wisconsin crowd that he spoke with the president last night, and a man in the crowd shouted out a message for the president.
“Tell him we love him!” one man shouted.
“I love him too.  I love him too,” Biden said.  “I tell you what, there’s never been a day in the last four years I haven’t been proud to be his vice president, not one single day.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Six Days from Election Day, Paul Ryan Pauses to Trick or Treat with Kids

Liza Ryan trick-or-treating on Halloween as Katy Perry in Janesville, Wisc., Oct. 31, 2012. (Pool Photo)(JANESVILLE, Wis.) -- Paul Ryan combined the campaign trail with dad duty Wednesday evening, taking his three young children trick or treating on Halloween using the same route he and his brothers took as children in their hometown.

His 10-year-old daughter, Liza, was dressed as singer Katy Perry, while Ryan's 9-year-old son Charlie was the Unknown Phantom, and 7-year-old Sam was the Grim Reaper.

Liza - -dressed as a G-rated version of the famous Obama supporter who recently performed at a fundraiser for the president -- wore the performer's signature blue hair, a rainbow headband and outfit to match inspired from the pop singer's always-colorful wardrobe.

Charlie got into the spirit and dressed as a frightful ghoul wearing a red cape and black mask, while his brother Sam wore a white skeleton's mask, and a black cape. He couldn't hold his candy and the Grim's Reaper's scythe, so his dad and GOP vice presidential candidate was stuck toting it.

Four years ago, Sarah Palin also celebrated Halloween with her young children, taking them trick or treating on the campaign trail in Harrisburg, Pa. Daughter Piper dressed as a snow princess.

Ryan, who was costume-less, was dressed in his Wisconsin Badger Red North Face jacket with matching hat, while his wife Janna wore a witch's hat. Ryan had niece Zaydee May, dressed as a butterfly, in toe with her mom Zoe, who are both visiting from China. Zoe is married to Ryan's older brother Stan who was recently on the campaign trail with the Wisconsin congressman.

The group trick or treated on Jefferson Avenue, where Ryan and his two brothers used to ask for treats themselves.

"This was the route I did when I was kid. I did this route every day, every Halloween when I was a kid. And the kids do the same one," Ryan told reporters who were invited to cover part of the festivities.

The only talk of politics was when a reporter asked Ryan about recent polls that show him down in Wisconsin, but he wouldn't answer, saying, "We're not doing questions."

A new poll out Wednesday from Marquette University Law School shows a lead for the president in Wisconsin with Obama at 51 percent to Romney with 43 percent.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post Tracking poll out Wednesday has the race tied nationally, with both Romney and Obama at 49 percent support.

Usually the Ryan kids are in school and off the campaign trail, but when they are out they tend to lighten the mood of the campaign when they travel with their parents.

The outgoing trio love to orange bowl on the plane and advise over the intercom when the campaign plane is about to land.

The youngest, Sam, even came back and visited with reporters who cover his father's campaign day in and day out earlier this month. After a few questions from the inquisitive press, Ryan's spokesperson came back with a smile on his face and jokingly ended the back and forth with an "OK, last question."

Sam is also the Ryan who could be seen sitting in Joe Biden's seat with a huge smile on his face after his dad finished his final debate against his opponent.

Of course, it wasn't just the family getting into the spirit of things Wednesday evening.

Ryan's personal aide, Jake Kastan, proved to be incredibly loyal and went beyond the call of duty dressing in a yellow chicken costume for the three kids, who affectionately call him "chicken butt."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan’s House Opponent Will Be in Kentucky Outside Debate

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Paul Ryan’s House challenger will be in Danville, Ky., the site of the vice presidential debate on Thursday, asking for a debate of his own.

Rob Zerban, the Democrat challenging Rep. Ryan, R-Wis., will be doing national interviews in Kentucky, telling reporters that Ryan has neglected his home-district House campaign.  Ryan, who presumably has his hands full running for vice president and debating Joe Biden, has refused to debate Zerban, so far.

Zerban has circulated a petition among his supporters demanding a debate.

“The reason that Rob is going down [to Kentucky] is that Ryan basically has refused to campaign in the district or debate him or anything like that, despite spending money on TV in the district, so we’re trying to call attention to that,” Zerban spokesman TJ Helmstetter told ABC News.

Zerban has not yet secured a spot inside the building where the debate will be held, but he’ll be available outside.  He’ll appear Thursday morning on MSNBC’s The Rundown and later on Hardball, his spokesman said.

Zerban’s campaign outraised Ryan’s House campaign by more than $200,000 in the third quarter of 2012.

Ryan won reelection with 64 percent of the vote in 2008.  His race against Zerban is not thought to be competitive.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Paul Ryan Compares Auto Industry Struggles in Michigan, Wisconsin

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(ROCHESTER, Mich.) --  In Mitt Romney’s home state, Paul Ryan held a rally Monday in front of one of his largest crowds on the campaign trail and tailored his remarks for the Michigan audience, comparing job losses in his home state of Wisconsin to the auto industry’s struggles in Michigan.

“We lost four auto factories in the area I represent in just the last four years,” Ryan said.  "We lost our plant, our GM plant in Janesville, our Chrysler Kenosha plant, we lost two Delphi plants in Oak Creek.  Trust me, I come from Detroit West.  We know we need a healthy auto sector.  I come from a GM town, and as we said in Janesville, we've always said -- as GM goes, so goes Janesville."  

"Well, we've all gotten knocked down.  We've seen some carnage in the auto sector," he continued.  "Know this: We want the strongest auto sector.  We lost 38,000 manufacturing jobs just in the last two months.  Over 10,000 of them came from auto.  The good news is if you put the right people in place and get the right policies in place, we can turn this around.”

At a fundraiser earlier Monday in Pontiac, Mich., Ryan first made the comments about the auto industry and thanked the donors who paid between $1,000 and $50,000 for “helping” to “communicate this to our fellow Michiganders and Wisconsinites.”

The Obama campaign sent out an aggressive response to Ryan’s comments, saying the “American people have come to expect stunning dishonesty from Congressman Ryan and Mitt Romney, but the truth is their policies would be devastating for middle class families.”

“Ryan told supporters that Romney knows we need a strong auto industry, but Romney would have just ‘let Detroit go bankrupt,'” Obama spokesman Danny Kanner said in a statement, referring to the controversial op-ed Romney wrote for the New York Times in November 2008 where he called for the Michigan auto industry to go through a “structured bankruptcy.”

The GOP vice presidential nominee told reporters on Monday that he thinks his ticket will take the state, adding, “I think we got a really good chance.”  However, polls have the president leading in Michigan and the Romney campaign is not running any television advertising in the state.

Ryan will be in Florida Tuesday for another intense day and a half of debate prep before he faces off against Joe Biden Thursday in the only vice presidential debate, hosted by ABC’s Martha Raddatz.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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