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Countdown to Wisconsin recall: 14 days

Here's the latest on the campaign to recall Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, compiled by John Nichols, Washington Correspondent of The Nation:

1. Joe Ricketts, famed anti-Obama financier, is a $100,000 donor to Scott Walker.

  • It appears that the two had a meeting in Chicago before Walker got the check.
  • This is part of Ricketts' broad political initiative.

2. Tom Barrett is calling on Scott Walker to release thousands of emails from his days as Milwaukee County exec and answer more questions about the John Doe probe that has ensnared several former aides.

  • Walker's rattled by this demand and has dismissed it as a “desperate attack from a desperate campaign."
  • But there is no question that these emails are central to the John Doe probe.
  • The investigators referenced them in the formal filings against veteran Walker aide Tim Russell. In fact, the indictment of Russell included the Walker email that seemed to suggest knowledge of the secret campaign project inside the county executive's office.
  • Walker wrote: “We cannot afford another story like this one. No one can give them any reason to do another story. That means no laptops, no websites, no time away during the day, etc.”
  • This is not just a challenge for Walker but for the media.
  • Walker claims he has talked about the John Doe “more than any person has in the state of Wisconsin.”
  • That absurd. He has been cagey about it from the start -- especially with regard to his meetings with the DA and development of his criminal defense team.
  • The question is whether reporters/interviewers will let him get away with it.
  • Walker's response to questions got a lot of radio play today -- bringing the profile of the issue way up.

3. Walker flubbed a question on his new jobs numbers Monday.  

  • He was asked how many of the new jobs he claims to have discovered were created in Milwaukee -- an area he has focused on in his attacks on Barrett.
  • Walker admitted he did not know.
  • His aides eventually acknowledged that the new figures weren't broken down by city or county. So no one knows where they came from.
  • That's how sketchy the figures are.
  • Problem: They have not been reviewed, calculated OR verified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) folks who analyze job increases/losses.

4. Since implementation of Walker's agenda and cuts, according to the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, the number of teachers in Wisconsin public schools fell 2.4 percent.  Poorest, most hard-pressed school districts population-wise suffered worst hits.

5. As Ed has noted, three key Dems on the House Oversight Committee have asked that chairman Darrell Issa contact Walker to clarify Walker's testimony before their committee last spring. This comes in light of comments about busting unions that came to light in a recent documentary.

  • "This new video raises serious questions about the veracity of Governor Walker’s testimony before our Committee, in which he repeatedly described his decision to strip public sector union workers of collective bargaining rights. Instead, this video suggests that his motivation was to 'divide and conquer' public sector unions in order to turn Wisconsin into a "completely red state," write U.S. Reps. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Gerry Connolly of Virginia and Chris Murphy of Connecticut 
  • "We ask that you write to Governor Walker on behalf of the Committee and request an explanation for why his statements captured on this videotape appear to contradict his testimony before the Committee."
  • Connolly and Murphy asked some of the most damning questions when Walker testified.
  • This is quite notable. Getting play in Wisconsin.

[Editor's Note: The Ed Show has featured extensive coverage of the worker revolt since Gov. Scott Walker in Wisconsin took office.  Walker faces a recall election on June 5 against Democrat Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee.  John Nichols, Washington Correspondent of The Nation, has reported on the situation in Wisconsin since Walker's union-busting campaign began shortly after he took office in January 2011.  That reporting was compiled for the excellent book Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street.  John has been a frequent guest on the Ed Show and periodically, he'll be sending us more notes on the Wisconsin recall campaign as we get closer to the June 5 vote.]