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Wisconsin recall: Why Democrats think Barrett can beat Walker this time

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Although Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since 2008, only 5,900 private-sector jobs have been created since Walker took office. (He had pledged during his first campaign that there would be 250,000 new jobs during his four-year term, which is now halfway over.] Moreover, the state lost more jobs than any other between March 2011 and March 2012, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Barrett is expected to seize on that data to reinforce his message that Walker’s agenda hurts job growth.

Speaking to supporters Tuesday in Milwaukee, Barrett said the governor will “run from that record.”

“He took the eye off the ball. Instead of doing what he said he was going to do, which was to create 250,000 jobs, he looked for new way to divide us from each other,” Barrett said.

Walker is attacking Barrett, too, on the jobs issue, saying Milwaukee’s unemployment rate rose 28 percent over the past eight years even as property taxes in the city jumped 25 percent. He is championing his bid to curb collective bargaining rights, saying it helped to save state taxpayers $1 billion and prevented a tax increase during his first year in office. 

Walker did not mention Barrett by name late Tuesday in remarks to supporters in Waukesha, Wis. “The powerful special interests don't like the fact that I stood up and got in the way of their firm grip on the taxpayers' money. Instead, I stand with the taxpayers of this state,” he said.

Barrett has been the presumptive nominee for weeks, after polls showed him more likely to give Walker a tight race than Kathleen Falk, the former Dane County executive and his closest competitor.

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