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Tammy Baldwin Running on ‘Buffett Rule’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo

Within a span of four days last week, she was on two national press calls — one with Senate Democratic Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and another with President Barack Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.).

Baldwin said she first got involved with the legislation because of an existing working relationship she had with Whitehouse. Last year, she and the Rhode Island Senator teamed up on a resolution regarding the settlement between the Justice Department, state attorneys general and mortgage servicers.

Whitehouse and Baldwin then teamed up on the Buffett Rule after the Wisconsin Congresswoman approached him about the issue.

“Congresswoman Baldwin is a champion for middle-class families in her state, and I’ve been honored to work with her to restore tax fairness,” Whitehouse said in a statement. “She has worked extremely hard on this issue and shown that she’s willing to stand up to the special interests to do what’s right.”

But the road for Baldwin in Wisconsin is not without serious bumps. Republicans almost swept the elections in 2010, picking up the state Legislature, the governor’s mansion and a Senate seat that had been held for nearly two decades by Democrat Russ Feingold. Though Democrats have strongholds in Milwaukee and Madison — the latter is represented by Baldwin in the House — the party has struggled in rural areas of the state.

And as much as Democrats have touted Baldwin’s involvement with the Buffett Rule, Republicans have been quick to attack it. On the day of her press call with Messina and Durbin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee blasted out a statement before the call even took place, challenging the effect of the pending bill and linking Baldwin to Obama.

“As Madison liberal Tammy Baldwin spends the day flacking for President Obama and his far-left tax policies on a campaign conference call, it’s worth noting what she won’t be saying to reporters on the other end of the line,” the email began.

Tammy Baldwin hasn’t met a tax increase she didn’t like,” NRSC spokesman Lance Trover said in a statement. “The one thing you will not hear Tammy Baldwin say today, as she pushes a tax plan the Wall Street Journal has dubbed a ‘ruse’ is how many jobs it will create and how it will ease American’s pain at the pump.”

Baldwin, of course, sees it differently. She suggested that the tax fairness issue is at the center of the campaign she wants to run in Wisconsin. “People who are just calculating what their marginal tax rates are are coming to me and saying, ‘I can’t believe we’re paying more than Mitt Romney,’ and they’re pretty angry about it,” Baldwin said.

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