WASHINGTON -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), who is running in his party's primary to face off against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in the June recall election, is out with a new ad blasting the governor for his "war on women."
The online ad highlights Walker's recent decision to quietly repeal the 2009 Equal Pay Enforcement Act, which made it easier for victims of wage discrimination to have their day in court.
"Scott Walker has torn our state apart waging an ideological civil war in Wisconsin, and Walker's war extends to women," Barrett said. "No decision underscores that more than Walker's move to take away enforcement teeth of the state's equal pay law. As the father of three daughters I am deeply concerned with the effect that this will have not only on my daughters, but also the women of Wisconsin."
"Thus far, Tom Barrett has dealt with tough issues in one of three ways: Remaining silent, blaming others, or in this case, outright lying," replied Ciara Matthews, the Walker campaign's communications director. "Tom Barrett’s campaign message has become borderline irrational in his attempt to win a seat that Wisconsin voters have twice denied him because of his failed leadership and utter lack of ideas or solutions."
On Monday, state Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison) challenged state Sen. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend), the author of the equal pay repeal bill, to a debate on women's rights. Grothman has not yet accepted.
Grothman recently said that the pay gap that exists between women and men is there because "money is more important for men." Women, on the other hand, are too focused on childrearing, he said.
The "war on women" in Wisconsin has moved to the national debate, as the Obama campaign has called on GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney to explain whether he backs Walker's actions on equal pay. One of Romney's surrogates is state Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), who cosponsored Grothman's bill repealing the Equal Pay Enforcement Act.
Barrett's main competitor in the Democratic primary, former Dane County executive Kathleen Falk, is also focusing her attention on women voters, saying they may be key to the race.
"Of these undecided voters out there -- and there's a lot -- they're primarily women, and they're primarily independent," Falk said during a recent interview with WISN-TV. "They're looking for a candidate that knows how to run government and that will bring us together."
The Barrett ad comes out on Equal Pay Day, which is the day when a typical woman's earnings catch up to those made by her male counterparts in 2011.
Transcript of the ad:
Screen: "Scott Walker's war on women escalates" DailyKos, 4/9/12
Tom Barrett: Senator Hanson, who in 2009 got legislation passed dealing with equal pay for equal work.
Screen: "Scott Walker repeals Wisconsin Equal Pay Law" The Raw Story, April 6, 2012
To ensure that women would be treated fairly in this state. Pow! He goes after that.
Screen: "Scott Walker launches all-out attack on women from behind closed doors" MSNBC, The Ed Show, April 6, 2012
Legislation to make it more difficult for women to have the most intimate conversations with their health care provider. Pow! He goes after that.
Screen: "Walker signs slew of controversial legislation, including anti-abortion and sex-ed bills" Wisconsin State Journal April 7, 2012
Legislation that was on the books that made sure that young people got sex education that reflected the real world. Pow! He goes after that.
Screen: Photo of Scott Walker and the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol.
All part of this idealogical war. A war against women. A war against working people. A war against Wisconsin values.
Screen: Tom Barrett will END Scott Walker's War on Women
Screen: Join WomenForBarrett.com (Photos of State Rep. Terese Berceau, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, State Senator Lena Taylor and Former Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton.
UPDATE: 1:06 p.m. -- Falk also released a pay equity ad on Tuesday, going after Walker for cutting funding for health centers operated by Planned Parenthood: