In 2012 'warm-up,' labor 'ginning up opposition' in Wisconsin, says DeMint

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) told supporters Tuesday the ongoing budget battle in Wisconsin offers a preview of what organized labor has in store for 2012. 

In a fundraising appeal to supporters of his Senate Conservatives Fund, DeMint said the union-led protest against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's (R) budget proposal "demonstrates how dangerously beholden the Democrats have become to their out-of-control union bosses."    

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In the e-mail, the Republican slammed President Obama and the Democratic National Committee (DNC), which he said "is on the ground, ginning up opposition to Wisconsin Republicans who are trying desperately to balance their budget." 

"The unions will be even more active in the next election," DeMint wrote, referencing the millions of dollars spent by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees during the 2010 cycle. "They are certain to go after Republicans more aggressively than they ever have before. The unions are viewing Wisconsin as a community organizing 'warm-up' for 2012." 

DeMint uses the appeal to pitch support for a national right-to-work law that would prevent unions from mandating that workers join. More than 20 states currently have right-to-work laws on the books. 

DeMint is the latest Republican to weigh in on Walker's side in the battle over Wisconsin's budget crisis. Several rumored 2012 presidential hopefuls have offered public support, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). 

National Democrats, meanwhile, continue to skewer Walker. Over the weekend, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine said the GOP governor's actions amount to a declaration of war on public workers. 

On Tuesday, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, who heads the Democratic Governor's Association, said GOP governors across the county are using the crisis as an opportunity to "sharpen their ideological axe and go after collective bargaining rights."