Obama, Ryan stump in Wis. on eve of election

Associated Press Published: November 5, 2012
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State Sen. Jon Erpenbach, one of the Democrats who left the state and also a well-known Springsteen fan who's seen him in concert numerous times, tried to stoke up the old anger over that proposal as he warmed up the crowd.

"If you remember, and I know you do, you gathered here about a year and a half ago," he said. "You stood up for rights of Wisconsin workers. ... We've been through so much this past year and a half in Wisconsin. And if it seems like we've had election after election, you're right. But we have one more to go."

Retiring U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl urged people to vote, predicting that the presidential election would be close.

"The election will be decided by just a few votes, not millions of votes," he said.

The race to succeed Kohl is the most expensive for a Senate seat in state history, with spending exceeding $65 million and climbing, and it's been marked by a barrage of negative ads branding Baldwin as a screaming, extremist liberal and Thompson as an uncaring millionaire who abandoned his Wisconsin roots.

Baldwin, in her comments at the rally, said the election offers a choice between two visions for the country.

"Your voices will be heard because Wisconsin, we need a senator and a president who will fight for us," she said to cheers from the hometown crowd.

Thompson told WTMJ-AM radio in Milwaukee on Monday morning he felt optimistic, saying he's been traveling all over the state.

"We put on 1,200 miles in the last three days. The crowds were great. The excitement is there. And the polls don't pick up the kind of enthusiasm that our base has ... and that's going to make the difference tomorrow. I feel very good about where I'm at. I feel very good about Romney and Ryan."

Baldwin, 50, gave up her safe congressional seat to run for the Senate after Kohl announced his retirement. Baldwin is vying to become Wisconsin's first woman senator and the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate. Thompson, 70, is trying for a political comeback after serving as governor for 14 years. Briefly a candidate for president in 2007, and U.S. health secretary for four years, Thompson hasn't been on the ballot in Wisconsin since 1998.

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Associated Press writers Todd Richmond in Madison and Gretchen Ehlke in Milwaukee contributed to this report.

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