The new Republican National Committee Chairman says that President Obama needs Wisconsin in 2012, the state the president is visiting for his first stop post State of the Union, but likely isn't going to win it.
"My suspicion is, is that Barack Obama's map does not add up without Wisconsin being in his column," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a conference call Wednesday morning ahead of the president's visit to Manitowoc to talk about the economy.
This is Obama's 7th stop to Wisconsin since becoming president, proving his heightened attention to the state, after increasing his presence there during the midterm elections. It didn't help much, as Tea Party favorite and unknown GOP businessman Ron Johnson was able to beat Sen. Russ Feingold, the longtime Democratic Wisconsin senator. The GOP also was able to turn the governor's mansion red.
The kind of focus he's giving to the state is something the GOP has noticed. Priebus, who is the former Wisconsin Republican state chairman, said the state is a "microcosm of 2012."
Newly elected Sen. Johnson, R-Wisc., echoed the state's gaining political influence.
He welcomed the president's stop, and anticipated on the same conference call that they'd be seeing him there a few more times ahead of 2012. Johnson said he hopes the president hears what he heard on the campaign trail, how people of Wisconsin and the nation are concerned about spending and deficit levels.
The senator added that the people of Wisconsin understand it's the private sector that we should rely on for the economy and slammed the president's use of the word "investment," which has been a political fight both parties have been fighting over the last few days. Democrats say investment, and Republicans charge they are sugar-coating government spending.
Johnson called this the "wrong direction."
The White House said in a statement about Wednesday's trip that "he will continue his conversation with American families and workers about rebuilding an economy that ensures America's long-term economic competitiveness and guarantees that America and its people continue to lead in the future," stretching out his themes from his annual address to Congress Tuesday night.
He'll also be touring an power technology company, an aluminum manufacturer and a wind tower maker. The stop is part of the president's "main street tour," an attempt for him to get out of the Washington bubble and hear from more everyday Americans.
Another Wisconsin politician, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan is also in the spotlight after giving the official Republican response last night to president's address. Ryan is also the chairman of the House budget committee.