- The Washington Times - Monday, September 29, 2014

HUDSON, Wis. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie played the role of political attack dog here Monday for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, saying the Democrat seeking to unseat Mr. Walker in November is guilty of plagiarism.

Mr. Christie, campaigning in his role as chairman of the Republican Governor’s Association, said Mr. Walker was “too much of a gentleman” to attack Democrat Mary Burke, adding, “but I will.”

“The fact of the matter is that it is OK if we disagree with her ideas,” he said. “But we don’t know if they really are Mary Burke’s ideas, do we? Because her whole campaign has been surrounding this economic jobs plan of hers and wait, what do we find out? It is not hers.”

“Why would you trust her honesty and integrity on anything else she tells you about what she’ll do for Wisconsin or about Scott’s record,” Mr. Christie said.

Wisconsin Democrats countered with some star power of their own, with first lady Michelle Obama appearing with Ms. Burke at a big rally in downtown Milwaukee Monday evening and trying to invigorate the party faithful in a difficult political year.

“We need to be just as passionate and as hungry as we were back in 2008 and 2012,” the first lady told the large crowd. “… This is going to be a tight race and every single vote is going to matter.”

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Democrats also tweaked Mr. Walker for appearing with Mr. Christie here in Hudson, on the far western edge of the state and far from the state’s major media markets in Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay.

Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said the location of the GOP rally reflected fears that Mr. Walker could be overshadowed by Mr. Christie, or be linked to the New Jersey governor’s still-unresolved “Bridgegate” scandal.

“One of the reasons you go to Hudson is that the rest of the state is not going to hear much about it,” Mr. Tate told the Newark Star-Ledger.

Mr. Walker is facing a tough re-election against Ms. Burke, but a report earlier this month by Buzzfeed that she lifted some parts of her jobs plan from other politicians has dented her momentum. Ms. Burke responded by firing a consultant she said was responsible for the plagiarism.

The race remains tight, with the latest RealClearPolitics.com average of polls giving Mr. Walker a razor-thin lead.

The dueling events highlighted the stakes in the race. Mr. Walker and Mr. Christie after the midterm elections could very well turn into rivals for 2016 GOP presidential nomination.

Asked whether Mr. Walker would make a good president, Mr. Christie called Mr. Walker was a “great governor” and “outstanding executive.”

“He would do good at any executive position that we wanted to pursue, but I know this much, because I had spoken to him about it, he is not focused on anything beyond Nov. 4 and neither am I,” Mr. Christie said.

For his part, Mr. Walker said during a stop at Empire Buckets, a manufacturing firm, that “this is going to be a tough election.”

“I appreciate Chris coming in,” he said. “I think that shows just how tough this election is going to be.”

Mr. Christie and Mr. Walker are both blue-state governors who won praise from conservatives for taking on the public sector unions in their states.

In 2011, Mr. Walker successfully pushed legislation that required government employees to contribute more to their health care plans and pensions, and stripped them of some of their collective-bargaining rights.

Mr. Walker’s effort led to a recall election, which he won — making him the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall.

A little over two years later, some of the country’s largest unions have set their sights once again on beating Mr. Walker.

The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, said last week that defeating Mr. Walker is a top priority.

The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees also said this month that it has a “settle to score with Scott Walker.”

On Monday, Mr. Walker said they are coming after him because “we took the power out of their hands and put it back in your hands — the hands of the hardworking taxpayers.”

“They don’t much like that, but I believe in the end the taxpayers of this state are going to stand up and say, ‘We want control in our hands,’” he said.

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