09/20/2012 05:27 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2012

Why Mitt's Meltdown Matters for the Senate

Campaigns don't happen in a vacuum. You can't run for office touting one agenda to the general public while sharing your real feelings behind closed doors charging $50,000 per glimpse. You can't run to be the president of the American people when you only stand with 53 percent of them.

You also can't expect that the actions at the top of the ticket won't find a way to play out in races up and down the ballot. Todd Akin in Missouri is standing by Romney despite his "inelegant statement." And he's not alone.

While it may have taken the release of a private video to finally learn Mitt's true beliefs about the American people, Tommy Thompson hasn't been playing his cards so close to the chest in Wisconsin. Not only did he defend Romney's remarks, he's been spouting the same lies in public for months.

Thompson defended Romney, and told Fox News Romney's remarks were "taken out of context." But he didn't disagree with them. Because he doesn't. Back in March, Thompson said, "I think it is a real mistake in America that 50 percent of the people, up to 50 percent, don't pay any taxes." And he doubled down in July, repeating the same claims.

And while it's bad enough that candidates like Romney and Thompson are dismissing half of the American population, they are doing so while spreading false information. Nearly all Americans pay taxes.

Of the 47 percent of people that don't pay income taxes, 28.3% pay payroll taxes, 10.3% are elderly Americans collecting Social Security and another 6.9% are families living on less than $20,000 a year. These aren't freeloaders, they are Americans -- the people these men are supposedly running to represent.

Also among the 47% of those who Romney claims lack "personal responsibility" are our nation's veterans. I can't think of a more offensive notion. To refer to the brave men and women who defend our nation as "victims" is truly unthinkable.

And I just have to add -- these are big claims about taxes coming from two men who aren't willing to release their own tax returns.

EMILY's List recently conducted a poll in Wisconsin and we found that 70% of independent women voters already thought that Thompson's work at a lobbying firm putting corporate special interests ahead of Wisconsin's working families showed how out-of-touch he is. I can't imagine these comments will endear him to any of these women -- a crucial voting bloc.

While Wisconsin may be home to Paul Ryan and Tommy Thompson, it is also the state of Tammy Baldwin. Tammy Baldwin knows what working Wisconsin families need, and it's not ridicule, it's a Senator. A Senator who stands up for seniors, veterans and hardworking families, not corporate interests and the one percent.

At EMILY's List we're proud to stand with Tammy Baldwin, and we'll be proud to see her in the halls of the Senate standing with the people of Wisconsin. All 100% of them.