The Washington Times - September 2, 2010, 01:49PM

The Wisconsin Republican Party hammered Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett for holding a fundraiser this week with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, an attempt to portray Barrett as sympathetic to the liberal San Francisco icon and therefore out of touch with Badger state voters.

Only problem was, there was no fundraiser.

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The state GOP sent out a news release Wednesday saying Barrett hosted a “super secret” fundraiser with Pelosi on Tuesday night but didn’t want to admit it, the Associated Press reported. Their release showed drawings of Pelosi handing Barrett a bag of money.

But the party was forced to retract the statement an hour later after spokesmen for both Barrett and Pelosi said there was no fundraiser.

Republican Party spokesman Andrew Welhouse said he first heard about the fundraiser on Milwaukee talk radio and then later from several sources he declined to name, the AP said.

Wisconsin Democratic officials dismissed the Republican explanation that the news release was a misunderstanding, instead calling it an outright lie.

“Wisconsin’s Republicans hallucinated a fundraiser in their continuing pattern of saying or doing anything to get elected,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate. “The Republicans are spinning stories out of whole cloth in their efforts to advance the interest of corporate fat cats at the expense of Wisconsin’s working families.”

A Rasmussen Reports survey released last week showed Barrett narrowly trailing against either of two major Republican candidates. The Wisconsin gubernatorial primary is Sept. 14.