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Barrett: Walker wants to be ‘poster boy’ for Tea Party movement

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) said Sunday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) wants to be the “poster boy” for the Tea Party.

“He wants to be on the national stage as the rock star of the far right, as the poster boy of the Tea Party,” said Barrett, speaking on CNN’s State of the Union. Barrett is challenging Walker in the state’s recall election.

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“I’m not going to be the rock star of the far right. Frankly, I’m not going to be the rock star of the far left. I’m focusing on this state because that’s what’s important to me,” Barrett said.

The Democratic gubernatorial hopeful said Walker wants the race to have national implications, while he is focused on the concerns of Wisconsin voters. Walker has faced off with unions after pushing through legislation that limited public workers’ collective bargaining rights.

The race has attracted attention from across the country, with unions targeting their efforts at unseating Walker. Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.) called the recall vote a “dry run” for the November election. On Friday, former President Bill Clinton campaigned for Barrett in the state. But President Obama has kept his distance from the close contest.

On CNN, Barrett said he hasn’t asked President Obama to campaign with him in Wisconsin because this was “a grassroots movement” that started because of Walker’s move against public workers. Barrett said he believes Walker wants to do more to limit union rights elsewhere in the state, perhaps in the private sector.

“I believe that this is the first step towards taking away workers’ rights throughout this state,” Barrett said.

 Polls have been tight in Wisconsin, though Walker has often been in a slight lead against Barrett. The Milwaukee mayor, however, said he was going to win the race.

 “I’m going to win it,” Barrett said. “We are very, very positive."