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'On Tuesday we save Wisconsin,' Ryan tells huge Racine TEA Party rally

'On Tuesday we save Wisconsin,' Ryan tells huge Racine TEA Party rally


CALEDONIA — The whole country is watching Wisconsin’s recall elections.

Speaker after speaker stated and restated the national interest in, and importance of, Tuesday’s recall elections during a 2-hour Racine TEA Party PAC rally on Saturday morning at Gorney Park, 8201 Nicholson Road. The event drew an estimated 4,000 people, one speaker said, and featured a series of major Republican politicians and conservative commentators.

They stressed the point that Wisconsin is considered a bellwether for what could happen across the country after Tuesday, and in November.

Their accompanying, repeated message was: Get out as many like-minded voters as you can to rebuff Tuesday’s attempted recall of Gov. Scott Walker, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and state Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine. The latter two spoke during the rally.

Racine TEA Party leader Laura Halberstadt said the rally was held in the morning to give people more precious hours to urge others to fend off the recalls.

Noting the national prominence of the recall election, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said: “You know what? On Tuesday we save Wisconsin, and on Nov. 6, Wisconsin saves America.”

Ryan, R-Wis., added: “This recall, it doesn’t make any sense ... what governor or legislator will ever take on these reforms if the recall succeeds?”

Ryan also said of Democratic recall challengers Tom Barrett, Mahlon Mitchell and John Lehman: “They’re not even offering another solution. They’re not saying how they would fix our problems a different way.”

Rally emcee and commentator Tony Katz, a Californian, said: “The people of Wisconsin are absolutely, positively not alone — everyone is watching. We are amazed by what we see in Wisconsin.”

Similarly, conservative radio talk show host Dana Loesch said: “All eyes are on you, Wisconsin, from the East Coast to the West Coast.”

Republican National Party Chairman Reince Priebus said: “We are going to chart the course for the rest of the country ... then we’re going to fire Barack Obama,” drawing cheers.

Wanggaard was among those urging grass-roots action. He joked that everyone who attended the rally now had “-Wanggaard” as part of their last name and said, “I expect my family to get out and help.” He also promised that photo I.D. voting, clearly a crowd-pleasing concept, “is coming.”

Many speakers blasted “big labor” as the hand behind the recall movement. “It is a war on Wisconsin families perpetuated by union bosses and the Democrat Party,” Loesch said.

Kleefisch likened national labor unions to Goliath and Walker to David.

“Wake up, union workers,” said Racine TEA Party organizer Nancy Milholland. “(Walker, Kleefisch and Wanggaard) did the things that let you keep your jobs.”

“We’re not anti-union,” she said. But she said taxpayers can’t afford to keep paying for everything unions bargained for years ago.

The TEA Party rally was preceded by an appearance by the Americans For Prosperity Wisconsin’s “A Better Wisconsin” bus tour.

Its main speaker was AFP President Tim Phillips, who stumped on Walker’s behalf.

He said Walker “is a national leader, because he has put forward policies that are literally changing his great state for the better.”


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Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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