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Monday, August 25, 2008

 12:57 PM 

Baldwin & Doyle: Dems will present unified front

U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin and Gov. Jim Doyle said Democrats will present a unified front at the Democratic National Convention, but Baldwin said she wasn't yet sure who she will cast her ballot for on the convention floor.

Baldwin, one of the state's 16 superdelegates, supported U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton in the Wisconsin primary, but now says she is a "full partner" in the Barack Obama campaign. She said her speaking slot tomorrow night at the convention is a reflection of the unity of Democrats behind Obama.

Still, Baldwin said she has not been privy to the discussions between Clinton and Obama about how the final nomination vote will be orchestrated. She noted that in 1988, supporters of Jesse Jackson cast their ballots for him even though Michael Dukakis was the certain nominee.

"If you look at the history of the Democratic Party and Democratic conventions where they have nominated candidates ... sometimes there has been the posture that they would like those people who were committed delegates to actually vote for that nomination," Baldwin said.

"Until I hear that I certainly don't want to tie myself in a knot that I can't untie," she said.

Baldwin and Doyle, who will also speak tomorrow night, made the comments during a conference call today with Wisconsin reporters.

Baldwin noted that it's unusual to have two people from the same state speaking on the same evening, but said it is an indication of the importance of Wisconsin in the election.

"We have been a swing state for a number of presidential cycles," she said. "I hope that come election day we will become profoundly a blue state, but we need to work to make that so."

Doyle said Dem excitement going in to this week is "incredibly high," and called this a "historic, momentous convention."

He said he will highlight economic concerns in his speech, including bolstering the manufacturing economy, lowering the tax burden on the middle class and making a college education more accessible.

Baldwin, who also got a speaking slot at the 2004 Dem convention, will focus her speech on health care. She said the convention will be about "turning our hopefulness into action."

"This is the moment where we have all been inspired throughout the primary, we are coming together behind Senator Obama and we are filled with hope because he as a leader has expressed such a hopeful message," she said.

Baldwin brushed aside a new McCain TV ad featuring Clinton-backer Debra Bartoshevich of Waterford. Bartoshevich was originally a delegate to the Dem convention, but had her status revoked after she refused to back Obama following the primary.

"I am amazed at how much attention is given to one solitary person," she said. "I have found nobody who has expressed similar sentiments post-primary. By all the attention she's been getting both in the mainstream media and the McCain campaign I wouldn't be surprised if she's a secret VP candidate or maybe will even introduce him next week in St. Paul at the convention."

Baldwin said the people she worked with in the Clinton campaign have enthusiastically moved to the Obama effort.

"I think the McCain campaign will run with this as long as they can, but the American people and Wisconsin people are pretty clear that she's just one person and the Democratic Party is coming together with great unity," Baldwin said.

Listen to the conference call here.

-- By Greg Bump

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