Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus reminded Democrats on Sunday that his party "basically crushed" them when they attempted to mount a recall challenge against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. That same operation, he said on CNN's "State of the Union," will be out in force in support of Mitt Romney this election.
His comments came in response to Obama adviser David Axelrod's remark that Wisconsin was squarely in the blue corner. "Well, he can say whatever he wants to say," said Priebus. "I mean they haven't been able to win in Wisconsin for a long time. They claim that the Obama machine was out during the Walker recall. We basically crushed them in Wisconsin."
Priebus said he's "seen first-hand the difference between Obama's rhetoric on their ground game and the reality. And the reality is they're not as good as they think they are."
But Democrats have one ace up their sleeve -- or, more accurately, half a million aces -- that has Republicans like Priebus nervous.
Politico's Jonathan Martin took a close look at the Wisconsin turnout contest, and notes that while the organization Republicans built in the state through the Walker recall election is a big boon, top Republicans are worried about the voters, presumed to be Obama supporters, who sat out the recall but might show up on Election Day:
[W]hat makes Republicans uneasy about their prospects next month can also be traced back to the recall and Ryan pick.
About 500,000 voters who cast ballots in the 2008 election didn’t show up for the recall, which Walker won by seven points. Political veterans in both parties here believe those Wisconsinites are likely Obama voters, if he can turn them out again.
“If you’re not involved or engaged enough to come out for the Walker recall … ,” said freshman Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), a bit incredulously, adding: “I’m a little concerned about the half-million voters. That is the only reason this thing would be close.”
The incoming GOP Speaker of the state Assembly, Robin Vos, was blunter.
“That is my biggest concern,” Vos said of the fall-off between the presidential campaign and recall. “It’s the most important election in our life and you didn’t vote?”