Paul Ryan: 'Wisconsin Very Much a Catholic State, a Majority Pro-Life State'

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 11, 2012 | 12:57 PM EDT


Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Rep. Paul Ryan with Mitt Romney in Janesville, Wisc., on June 18, 2012. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

( - In the 2000 and 2004 elections, George W. Bush targeted Wisconsin in his presidential campaigns, narrowly losing it in both contests. Even though Wisconsin was again thought to be a swing state in 2012, John McCain lost it that year to Barack Obama by a large margin.

In 2005, in the wake of Bush's narrow 2004 loss in Wisconsin to Sen. John Kerry, Rep. Paul Ryan, who will now be the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, explained to National Public Radio why he believed Wisconsin was being increasingly targeted by Republicans in presidential races and why he believed it contained a coalition that would elect conservatives.

"Wisconsin is very much of a Catholic state, a majority pro-life state," Ryan told NPR in a Dec. 31, 2005 interview.

"So I do believe that on moral and cultural values, Wisconsin is definitely a conservative state," said Ryan. "So what we've seen is we've seen a coalition of Second Amendment rights advocates and rugged individualists combined with conservative family values. Those two elements have formed a majority coalition, which I think will be the success of the Republican Party and the future in Wisconsin."

In the 2000 presidential election, Wisconsin had 11 electoral votes. Al Gore defeated George W. Bush there by just 5,708 votes--1,242,987 to 1,237,279. In 2004, Wisconsin dropped to 10 electoral votes as a result of the 2000 Census, and Bush targeted it heavily again in his campaign. Once again he lost, this time by 11,384 votes--1,489,504 to 1,478,120.

In 2008, Obama defeated McCain by a large margin in Wisconsin. Taking the state by 414,818 votes--1,677,211 to 1,262,393.

In November 2010, Republican Scott Walker, an evangelical Christian was elected governor of Wisconsin. Walker is a staunch conservative on both fiscal and social issues, declaring himself "100% pro-life."

In 2011, Walker pushed through legislation that required state workers to contribute 5.8 percent of their wages to their pension plans and pay 12.6 percent of to their health insurance premiums. While exempting firefighters and law enforcement officers, the law Walker championed required that when public sector unions negotiated a wage increase above the rate of inflation that wage increase would need to be approved by a voter referendum.

The unions rebelled against Walker and he was subject to a recall election. The recall was held on June 5 and Walker defeated Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, 53 percent to 46 percent.

Wisconsin retains 10 electoral votes in the 2012 election.

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