04/04/08 — Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle campaigns for Obama

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Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle campaigns for Obama

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on April 4, 2008 1:46 PM

With North Carolina's primary only a month away and the race between the Democratic presidential hopefuls tightening, both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton have made campaign stops across the state. But on Thursday it was Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle appearing on Obama's behalf to let people in Goldsboro know why they should support the first-term senator from Illinois.

Stopping at Wilber's Barbe-cue on U.S. 70, Doyle explained why he made the more than 1,000-mile trek, and why he believes Obama has a chance to win as convincingly in the North Carolina as he did in Wisconsin.

"Not only is he a charismatic candidate, but he's a very, very smart person ... and focused on what I know people in Wisconsin care about, and I imagine it's no different in eastern North Carolina," he said.

And primary among those "bread and butter issues" is the economy.

The goal, Doyle explained, is to rebuild the country's middle class through improved job prospects, more affordable health care, more affordable education and focused tax breaks.

"I've heard (Obama) say there's no better social program than a good-paying job," he said. "We have to emphasize that we really want people working in the United States.

"In my judgment, you really want to have a strong middle class economy."

But to create that, he explained, there are several steps that must be taken, such as signing trade agreements that are fair, properly enforcing the agreements that are already on the books, creating tax policies that provide incentives for companies to invest in the United States, eliminating tax policies that encourage overseas development and creating job training programs to help American workers adapt to the new economy.

He also sought to reaffirm Obama's commitment to the nation's armed forces, describing him as a candidate who would be a "very pro-military president."

"I don't think there's any indication of reducing any commitment to the military," Doyle said. "He clearly wants to get us out of Iraq and says we have to get out as carefully as we carelessly got into this war ... but he often talks about the need to rebuild our military."

And in fact, on Obama's Web site, he discusses his plans to expand the U.S. Army and Marine Corps by 65,000 and 27,000 troops respectively, as well as the need to improve equipment and skills.

At the end of the day, though, Doyle explained that he believes in Obama because of who he is and the change that he represents.

"I think people are really seeing what kind of leader Barack Obama can be," he said. "If you had held our primary six weeks before it was held, Hillary Clinton probably would have won. But it's really been a great unifying campaign. That's why I care about this so much and why I'm in North Carolina. I just think he's exactly what the country needs right now."

And because of that, he believes Obama represents the best chance for the Democratic Party to defeat John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee.

"It's going to be a very clear contrast," Doyle said. "I don't think you're going to see a lot of personal attacks, but I think you're going to see a very clear contrast.

"I don't think people want anything more to do with the Bush policies and administration."

It's a contrast that he does not believe Mrs. Clinton offers.

"I don't think that's so clear," he said. "I have known Sen. Clinton for a number of years and I think she's quite a remarkable person and worthy of a great deal of respect, but I think we're at a time in our country right now we really need change, and I think maybe it's time to turn that page."

But, he added, doing so is likely to be North Carolina's responsibility.

"It's looking more and more like North Carolina may decide this thing. It's very likely going to be the definitive primary in the country," Doyle said. "The next month is going to be an exciting time here."