- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke will be campaigning in western Wisconsin later this week and won’t join President Barack Obama when he’s on the other side of the state, her campaign spokesman said Tuesday.

Obama plans to tour a General Electric gas engine plant in Waukesha to talk about the economy on Thursday morning. It is part of a four-state swing following his State of the Union speech. Obama was originally scheduled to spend the night Wednesday in Milwaukee, but his plans changed to now limit the visit to about three hours on Thursday.

Burke’s spokesman, Joe Zepecki, did not immediately return a message asking if she had been invited to join Obama.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker has not yet said whether he will join the president as he has during previous Obama trips to Wisconsin. In 2012, when Obama also came to Milwaukee following his State of the Union speech, Walker was there to greet him even though at the time, Walker was embroiled in a Democratic-led attempt to recall him from office.

Burke’s decision not to join Obama comes the day after a Marquette University Law School poll showed the president’s approval rating in Wisconsin dropped from 49 percent in October to 44 percent this month. Fifty percent disapprove of the job he’s doing.

That same poll showed Walker leading Burke, a former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive, 47 percent to 41 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Obama was using his State of the Union speech to call for raising the minimum wage, which Burke has supported and which Walker has opposed.

In a speech before the Wisconsin Grocers Association last week, Walker said raising the minimum wage was “little more than a political grandstanding stunt” advanced by people who want to claim they’re helping workers when they’re really not.


Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sbauerAP

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