Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson said Saturday no one is satisfied with Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s campaign, sparking controversy among the parties.
Thompson told the New York Times it will be difficult for McCain to win Wisconsin, but not impossible. He also criticized the areas where McCain has been campaigning, saying he should be aiming for conservative Democratic parts of the state.
When asked if he was happy with the McCain campaign, Thompson said, “No. I don’t know who is.”
But according to Thompson aide Jason Denby, this comment was made in an informal discussion with a reporter and was taken out of context.
“You never agree 100 percent with anyone’s campaign, except your own,” Denby said. “It’s more that he feels there are other things that could have been done differently from a strategic standpoint.”
While some Republicans see Thompson’s comment as just a little dissatisfaction, the Democratic Party of Wisconsin sees his comment as a reflection of state voters.
Alec Loftus, communications director for the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, said Wisconsin voters are sick of McCain’s baseless attack on Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and are therefore dissatisfied in his campaign.
“Tommy Thompson was the governor of the state, and he knows that the voters of Wisconsin want to hear about real solutions in a time of economic crises and not the false character attacks that John McCain has been leveling on Barack Obama,” Loftus said.
Another critique Thompson had in his interview was that McCain needs a single, clear message that he can focus on to help him win the election, “change from the failed policies of President George W. Bush and John McCain.”
Loftus said Obama has laid out clear plans to help workers and families struggling in the current financial crises. He also recently came out with a plan to help middle class families that would help to boost the economy and bring aid to those families in need.
“Thompson last week got an up close and personal look at [McCain’s] low-road campaign and didn’t like what he saw…” Loftus said. “No matter how much John McCain focuses on attacks, Barack Obama will continue to focus on the economy.”
As to whether a single message could help McCain win the election, Denby declined to comment, and said Thompson’s comments had nothing to do with it and that winning Wisconsin is still very much possible.
But for Loftus, Wisconsin’s vote is almost in the bag.
“We’re not taking anything for granted, but we like the position Barack Obama is in Wisconsin and obviously Republicans like Thompson are dissatisfied with the position John McCain is in now,” Loftus said.
Regardless of what Thompson said to the New York Times, Denby said Thompson agrees with McCain 100 percent and will do anything the Arizona senator asks of him when it comes to further campaigning across Wisconsin.
Kirsten Kukowski, communications director for the Republican Party of Wisconsin, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment Monday.