By Kevin Bogardus - 09/22/12 08:54 PM EDT
The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Saturday blasted President Obama for his visit to Wisconsin, saying the GOP will win the state in November.
The RNC released a web video titled “Since You’ve Been Gone,” which criticizes Obama for the struggling economy and rising deficit. It also highlights Wisconsin’s status as a swing state this election.
The Republicans had a big victory in June when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) fended off a recall challenge from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D). Unions had gone after Walker after he pushed through legislation in 2011 to strip collective bargaining rights from some public workers. Parts of that law were overturned in a court ruling last week.
Since his victory, Walker has become a hero in conservative circles. Democrats aggressively campaigned against him, but Obama didn’t visit the state during the recall campaign.
With Walker’s success, Republicans feel they can take Wisconsin in the presidential election this summer. Priebus said the GOP in the state has made close to a million voter contacts and knocked on more than 200,000 doors this election cycle, which is six times more phone calls and 76 times more doors knocked than at this time in 2008.
“It's clear Republicans are fired up and ready to elect Governor Romney, fire President Obama, and get this country back on track this November,” Priebus said.
Saturday's trip marks the first time Obama has campaigned in Wisconsin this year.
A string of recent polls show Obama leads Romney in the Badger State. A Quinnipiac University/New York Times/CBS News poll this week indicated that Obama led Romney 51 percent to 45 percent.
Asked why Obama was campaigning in the state, Jen Psaki, the traveling campaign secretary for the Obama campaign, said Obama refused to cede the state to Romney, despite the fact that he was up in the polls.
“We’re going to run here, like in any battleground state, like we’re five points behind until Election Day,” she said. “Today is about energizing our supporters.”
At the same time, she added, "We've always thought Wisconsin would be harder for us this year than it was four years ago."
When Obama landed in the state on Saturday afternoon, he was not greeted by Walker.
But Psaki told reporters that baseball hall of famer Hank Aaron would be attending Obama's fundraiser in the state.
“We’ll take Hank Aaron over Scott Walker any day of the week on our trip to Wisconsin,” she said.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's campaign will also be highlighting Obama's visit to Wisconsin. The campaign has paid for a digital billboard ad to greet the president when he comes to the state on Saturday, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
"President Obama, in the 220 days you've been gone: Our national debt has increased $617 billion. 23 million Americans are struggling for work. Wisconsin can do better," the ad says.
--Amie Parnes contributed to this report.
--This article was posted at 9:30 a.m. and last updated at 4:54 p.m.