Labor official says Walker ad sets unsafe example

 

September 18, 2014

MILWAUKEE It's not uncommon for political candidates to engage in mudslinging, but in Wisconsin's governor's race there's actual dirt involved.

It all started last week when Republican Gov. Scott Walker's campaign released an ad titled "Comeback," which opens with him standing in an earthen hole about 6 feet deep. He tells the camera his opponent, Democrat Mary Burke, supported policies that put Wisconsin in a hole with high taxes, a deficit and a loss of 133,000 Wisconsin jobs. Then he touts aspects of his record while climbing a ladder.

Burke's campaign fired back with "Stop Digging," an ad that contends it was Walker's policies that put Wisconsin in a hole. A narrator asks Walker to stop digging, as dirt is shown flying through the air as if being tossed by a shovel.

The back-and-forth took an unconventional turn, however, when a union official stepped in to criticize Walker's ad not for its content, but for setting a poor example by failing to take safety precautions when filming it.

Jeff Kaminiski, president of United Steelworkers Local 2006, noted the governor wasn't wearing safety gear such as a hard hat and glasses, and that the hole in which he was standing was so deep the dirt walls should have been supported to prevent a collapse.

"As somebody who spends my days pushing safety on the job, these are big offenses," Kaminski said in a statement Tuesday.

Walker's campaign didn't immediately return a message Wednesday.

Labor unions typically support Democrats, although Kaminski said his statement only about worker safety, not politics.

However, his allegations about Walker's ad weren't entirely accurate. He initially claimed "the ladder is not positioned correctly," because it didn't extend at least 2 feet above the hole, even though in the last 10 seconds of the ad, it's clear the ladder is properly extended.

Kaminski acknowledged to The Associated Press on Wednesday that his point was in error.

 


Associated Press