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Feb 8 / Elizabeth DiNovella

Wisconsin Stars at CPAC

This week, conservatives will be gathering in Washington, D.C., to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Dubbed “Mardi Gras for the Right” by one rightwing reporter, the three-day festival “celebrates everything conservatives hold dear, including free-market capitalism.”

Conservatives hold Wisconsin dear, as two Republican Badgers are giving keynote speeches. Representative Paul Ryan from Janesville takes the stage Thursday night, while Governor Scott Walker addresses the crowd on Friday night.

Both Ryan and Walker have national ambition, even if they demur when the subject comes up. In that ever-so-revealing Koch prank call, Walker crowed about his national media appearances, and the good feedback his was getting from his fellow Republicans, adding, “You start going down the list there’s a lot of us new governors that got elected to do something big.”

Wisconsin has emerged as a crucial swing state in the 2012 election, even though the state went for Barack Obama in 2008 and John Kerry in 2004.

In 2010, though, Walker and the GOP took over both legislative chambers and the governor’s mansion.

Obama’s campaign team has drawn up five strategies to win the Presidency in 2012. All five presume Wisconsin will go for Obama.

Wisconsin is purple these days. It’s not a safe bet for either party in 2012.

But in 2010, the GOP bet big on Wisconsin and won. And its victory will be on full display at CPAC this week.

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