It appears Gov. Scott Walker is putting a positive spin on his failed promise to create 250,000 jobs within four years.
With two months to go before the November election, Walker is locked in a dead heat with his Democratic opponent Mary Burke.
On Thursday, the Walker campaign released an ad crediting him with overseeing the creation of more than 100,000 jobs.
Earlier this summer, Mary Burke’s campaign launched an ad pointing out that the governor was falling well short of his promise to create a quarter-million jobs. The spot features snippets from local TV newscasts.
This week, Gov. Walker’s campaign released a similar-sounding ad, but it uses different numbers. Walker’s reference to Wisconsin losing 133,000 jobs reaches back to the administration of former Gov. Jim Doyle. Burke had served as his commerce secretary just before the country sunk into the Great Recession.
Mordecai Lee is professor of governmental affairs at UW-Milwaukee. He thinks Walker picked a smart way to spin things.
“Gov. Walker is a fabulous politician and over the last few years when it became apparent that he would never accomplish the promise of 250,000 jobs, he’s been very open about it," Lee says. "He would talk to the media about it, he wouldn’t try to change the subject, he would say it was a stretch goal. He’s been cool as a cucumber and that has served him well. He’s not trying to rewrite history."
Dennis Riley agrees, Walker is not trying to run from his promise to create 250,000 jobs. Riley is a political scientist at UW-Stevens Point. He thinks the governor may be trying to reach a sliver of undecided voters, who view the creation of 100,000 jobs as good news.
“He doesn’t have to move the whole electorate, he just has to move a few people, and some of them are maybe not so well connected to the process so maybe he will be able to convince them that he’s done an awful lot,” Riley says.
Riley believes in response to Walker’s ad, the Burke campaign will continue to remind voters that the governor failed to keep his promise from 2010. Polls show that a top priority among voters is the availability of jobs.