CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- High-profile Wisconsinites were center stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. last week, with the vice presidential nominee, the chair of the party and one of the GOP's most prominent governors all hailing from the state. On Thursday in Charlotte, Democrats will hear from their own well-known Wisconsinite: Rep. Tammy Baldwin, currently a nominee for Senate, who will try to counter the messages coming from the Republicans in her state.
"Last week in Tampa, at the Republican National Convention, the nation got to see a bunch of folks from Wisconsin -- [Gov.] Scott Walker, [Republican National Committee Chair] Reince Priebus and obviously [Rep.] Paul Ryan," Baldwin said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "My job tomorrow is to introduce folks to the Wisconsin I know, which is one that embraces heartland values, has an incredible work ethic and believes fundamentally in fairness. There ought to be only one set of rules of the road, that too often the big and powerful interests are attempting to write their own rules."
Baldwin said she worried that Americans have misconceptions about Wisconsin after hearing so much from Walker and Ryan.
"You're going to get a very different impression of the Wisconsin that is actually a state with a proud progressive tradition," Baldwin said, previewing her speech. "I know that much of America really does embrace the heartland values of Wisconsin itself."
Baldwin is running against former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson for Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat. She will have a primetime speaking spot on Thursday, the same night President Barack Obama will address the convention. Baldwin also spoke at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colo.
The congresswoman said that while she considers Ryan, who was elected the same year she was, a friend, she was "disappointed with some of the misleading and inaccurate things he said in his speech."
In particular, she mentioned the fact that he seemed to blame Obama for the closure of a General Motors plant in Janesville, Wis., that in fact failed while President George W. Bush was still in office.
"We each represent half of Rock County, Wis. He represents the city of Janesville that has the General Motors plant that closed down," said Baldwin. "To suggest in his speech that it was our president's fault -- or under our president's watch -- is, I think, playing on the real heartbreak our constituents faced when that plant closed."