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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Reince Priebus touts Scott Walker's presidential potential -- By Joel Gehrke, The Washington Examiner

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, right, talks with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus at a Republican campaign office in Germantown, Wis., on Sunday, June 3, 2012. (AP File)Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus touted the presidential potential of Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis., suggesting that Walker is more likeable than Mitt Romney, and so might mitigate the problem that has made it difficult for Republicans to carry their midterm election successes into presidential elections.

Priebus discussed Walker Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference while telling a group of reporters about the RNC's efforts to make the party more effective in national elections.

"We've become a party that has a hard time losing midterms but a hard time winning presidentials," Priebus said, citing Mitt Romney's defeat in Wisconsin despite receiving a near-record number of votes in the state. "He pretty much got killed. And four months earlier, Scott Walker pretty much killed his opponent, but did it with 600,000 fewer votes. So why is that? What's going on? And I have to tell you, I think it has to do with No. 1, who do you want to have a beer with on the ballot, and No. 2, who is turning out low-propensity voters and how do you change that."

Priebus' comments about the beer-test hearken back to a 2004 poll that accounted for George W. Bush's superiority to John Kerry as a presidential candidate.

"President Bush, despite his many problems, strikes most of the American people as a pretty nice guy -- the kind of guy they would feel comfortable with if he showed up at their front door. The more standoffish Kerry projects little warmth," Richard Benedetto wrote for USA Today in September of that year. "A recent Zogby/Williams Identity Poll reflected that. It found that 57 percent of undecided voters would rather have a beer with Bush than Kerry."

I asked Priebus if that means he thinks Walker passes the "beer test," or if -- falling off the horse on the other side -- he gives any credence to the theory (floated every now and then when D.C. reporters get together) that Walker's lack of a college degree (he attended Marquette University for four years, but did not graduate) could be a problem for him in convincing voters to trust him with the keys to the White House.

"No, I don't think that's a problem," Priebus said of Walker's education credentials. "But I think midterms and presidentials are really different. And I think too many people think they can apply the lessons from midterm elections to presidential elections. I think low-propensity voters is an issue that we need to deal with as a party, and who do you relate to, who do you like, who do you want to have a beer with, is number one. It's how you feel about your country."

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