Burke: Walker ad reveals lack of global knowledge
- Article by: DINESH RAMDE
- Associated Press
- July 21, 2014 - 3:50 PM
MILWAUKEE — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke took aim Monday at Gov. Scott Walker's business knowledge, saying an ad in which he criticizes Trek Bicycle Corp. shows how poorly he understands how the global marketplace works.
The ad accuses Burke, a former Trek executive, of getting rich from a company that it said sent jobs overseas, where women and children are paid as little as $2 an hour. The 30-second spot drew swift criticism from the Burke campaign and from John Burke, Trek's president and Mary Burke's brother, when it was launched last week.
Mary Burke kept up the criticism Monday, arguing that Walker was playing politics rather than focusing on a business that was good for the state.
"For him to drag a great Wisconsin company through the mud is bad for business — it's all about politics with him," she said in statement. "If he knew more about business he would understand the global marketplace and how you compete worldwide."
Walker stood by the ad, saying the Burke campaign has never disputed its factual accuracy. Instead, he said, Burke is trying to take credit for Trek's successes while distancing herself from less savory aspects of the business.
"You can't have it both ways," Walker told reporters following a meeting of small-business leaders in Milwaukee. "You can't say, well, look at my record, but only look at the part you might like."
He didn't directly address her criticism of his business knowledge. He did say it was hypocritical that Democrats make the outsourcing of jobs a point of attack in presidential and Senate elections, yet they're complaining when he's raising similar concerns about Burke's record.
Trek, the world's second-largest bicycle maker, does not employ children at its overseas plants, John Burke said. Trek's manufacturing plants in China, Germany and Holland all follow local labor laws and pay prevailing wages, he said.
Walker, who is running for re-election in November, is locked in a tight race with Burke, who spent nearly three years as the state Commerce secretary and is seeking her first statewide office. A Marquette University law school poll in May found the two candidates with about even support among likely voters, with Walker polling well with voters 45 and older and Burke doing better with women and younger voters.
The law school plans to release its newest round of poll results Wednesday.
Burke faces a primary Aug. 12 against Democratic state Rep. Brett Hulsey, who might have a hard time competing with her campaign's deep pockets. Burke reported raising $3.6 million by July and had $2.5 million cash on hand. Hulsey has yet to report his fundraising totals but has acknowledged that his numbers will be far more modest.
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