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Jeff Kleist is the owner of Frontier Spirits in Westfield. This election season, he's concerned about jobs.
"I've got so many friends who can't find work," he said. "As a small business owner, I don't know how anybody could want to vote for Obama.”
Kleist bought his liquor store about five years ago and since then has almost doubled its business. After working for a liquor distributor based in Arizona for 5 years, he moved back to his homestate to buy Frontier Spirits because he thought it was a better opportunity. He didn’t feel a sense of job security in Arizona.
In 2008, shortly after he bought his business, Kleist believed President Obama could be a voice for small business owners and help the working class. Four years later, he regrets that vote. 
“He just didn’t do what he said he was going to. I’m not voting for him again,” Kleist explained.
When Governor Mitt Romney announced Janesville Congressman Paul...

WPR: At Issue with Ben Merens

Ben Merens talks with Ronald Rapoport about the role of third party candidates in presidential elections.

WPR: At Issue with Ben Merens

Constitution Party presidential candidate Virgil Goode talks about his campaign for the presidency and the issues he's focusing on.

Republican candidate Paul Ryan says he still believes in Congressional term limits, even as he's running for both re-election to the House this fall, and for Vice President.
At Rep. Ryan's town hall meeting in Waukesha Monday, a man in the audience asked if Ryan backs term limits for members of Congress. Specifically no more than six two year terms for the House of Representatives. Ryan, who's in his seventh term, said he once co-sponsored a term limit measure, "I've always been a fan of term limits."
Ryan notes it would take a constitutional amendment to set up Congressional term limits. If Ryan and Mitt Romney win the race for the White House next month, Ryan plans to resign his house seat, if he's also defeated his House contest opponent, Democrat Rob Zerban. Zerban says he also backs limiting House members to 12 years in office. Zerban says Ryan, now in his 14th year in Congress may be...

Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan used a Waukesha town hall forum Monday to attack Wisconsin's elections agency, accusing it of mishandling absentee ballots for military voters.
The Romney-Ryan campaign is suing the Government Accountability Board to try to give military and overseas voters extra time to return ballots. At issue are some municipalities that failed to send ballots before a federal deadline. Ryan was asked about the situation at his campaign forum and immediately blamed the state, "You can't selectively enforce our election laws. You can't selectively enforce voting rights. And of all the people who have a right to vote, it's our men and women in uniform, especially those that are overseas serving us right now."
Just how many people are affected by this depends on how you slice the numbers. The Government Accountability Board says clerks sent a total of 37 ballots less than 45 days before the election. Forty five days is what's required...

A central Wisconsin state Senate candidate is asking a city clerk to recuse himself in the upcoming general election because he is married to the candidate's opponent.
The request came in an October 4 forum in Wisconsin Rapids for the candidates for the 24th state Senate seat. Republican Scott Noble issued a demand that Stevens Point City Clerk John Moe step down from his post for the upcoming election because he is married to the incumbent state Senator, Democrat Julie Lassa, "I don't want someone that spends their weekends wearing my opponents t-shirt and handing out Packers schedules, when they come in at 8:00 Monday morning working on our votes. And it doesn't just apply in this race. It would apply in the presidential race. My opponent has done rallies for the President, and her husband is going to count the votes in the presidential election in Stevens Point."
Lassa called Noble's request a sign of desperation, "These...

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Sean Duffy is using his own mother in a new campaign ad about Medicare. Democrats say it's because he's losing the argument on the issue. Duffy isn’t the first Republican to use the strategy. 
The ad features Sean Duffy's mother Carol, who tells us she's a lifelong Democrat, "People might expect a mom to vote for her own son. But Sean really had to earn my vote. Don't believe the lies. Sean will do what's right for Medicare and seniors."
This isn't the first time a Republican has used his own mother to counter attacks on the Medicare issue. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan brought out his mother Betty on the day he was named as Mitt Romney's running mate, “My mom has been on Medicare for over ten years. She planned her retirement around this promise. That's a promise we have to keep."
Ryan created the plan that would turn Medicare into an...

Former northern Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey is taking to the stump for Democrat Pat Kreitlow, who’s running against freshman Republican Congressman Sean Duffy in his old district. But Obey has advice for people on both sides of the political aisle, including President Obama in Tuesday night's debate. 
After serving in congress for 40 years, Obey says there is a place for politeness in political debates. But he hopes Obama is not as nice as he was in the first debate, “The President should resist the temptation to be overly kind to Mr. Romney. I think he was trying to be presidential and not leave any blood on the floor.”
As for Congress, the former Appropriations Committee Chairman says until political parties learn to talk to each other, Congress will remain broken, “That’s the reason why every single appropriations bill was passed before the end of the fiscal year, not because I was so blessed smart but because I...

It’s early Monday morning, and a group of three year-old kids are learning how to throw a football in a gym at the YMCA in Sun Prairie.  They're in a newer neighborhood of this largely well-off suburb of Madison.
Kristen Bone of Madison is watching her daughter in pigtails from the bleachers. On her lap is her smiling four month-old daughter. Bone’s husband has been deployed to Afghanistan three times. She says she hopes whoever is president will focus on what’s going on at home, not overseas.
“It’s stressful and puts and impact on the kids and the family," she says.   "I worry anytime there’s any type of crisis, not only are we going to throw a bunch of money into it, but what that means for my family.”
Although she still doesn’t know if she’ll vote for President Obama or Governor Romney, Bone will be thinking about her daughters when she steps in the voting...

Irene Hensley lives in Edgerton and has been retired for 10 years. She’ll tell you she’s the mother of six children, even though only five are still living. Her first child was born when she was 17, but the baby didn’t survive.
On a rainy day in Janesville, she rummaged through vegetables at a farmers' market in tears telling me about her first pregnancy. Hensley says she is voting this year because she wants young women to have opportunities for choice.
“I’ll never forget the doctor who saved my life,” she said. “I want women to have the choices I didn’t.” 
At 7 months pregnant, Hensley took ill with the German measles. Her doctor told her she either had to abort the pregnancy or risk her own life. But in 1952 it was illegal for doctors to abort pregnancies without parental consent, depending on a woman’s age.
Hensley’s mother said no to the abortion and wanted her daughter...

Republican vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan mixed talk of football, and the nation's fiscal issues, as he campaigned at Carroll University in Waukesha this morning.  
A campaign event the morning after a Green Bay Packers victory is bound to get Wisconsin politicians talking football, and so it was with Paul Ryan, showing off his green and gold tie, and touting the Packers' Sunday night win over the Houston Texans.
"I gotta tell ya," he said.   "To go down to Texas against a 5-and-0 team on the road and have that kind of performance. It reminds me of what it's gonna look like on November the 6th."
Ryan says President Obama doesn't deserve to win that November 6th presidential election, because Ryan says the president has moved too slowly on helping businesses create jobs, signed the Affordable Care Act health care law, and has allowed the national debt to increase.  Ryan admits there was a federal debt before...

WPR: At Issue with Ben Merens

Jerry White, presidential candidate for the Socialist Equality Party, talks about the important issues for his party in this year's elections.

WPR: At Issue with Ben Merens

Jerry White, presidential candidate for the Socialist Equality Party, talks about the important issues for his party in this year's elections.

WPR: At Issue with Ben Merens

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein talks about her campaign and the key issues for her party.

Join WPR tonight night at 7 for a debate between U.S. Senate candidates Tommy Thompson and Tammy Baldwin.  That meeting is airing live from the UW-Marathon County campus in Wausau.  You can also join us for an online discussion during that debate at

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan was due to campaign in Waukesha this morning, after helping Senate contender Tommy Thompson raise money in Milwaukee Sunday night.
County Waukesha resident Jim Ponejolic  was among the people happy to see Paul Ryan holding a town hall event in his city. Ponejolic took a break from working at a Republican Party phone bank over the weekend, to say that Ryan and Mitt Romney can reverse the long slide that Ponejolic says the U.S. has experienced, "We may turn into a socialist country and I can't have that happen. Too many people have died for this country."
Republican volunteer Etienne Poncezeleon of Muskego hopes to attend the Ryan event at Carroll University. She's pleased with the GOP's opposition to abortion rights, "Because my mom had me when I was 16, and the thought I could have been, you know."
But it's the Ryan and Romney and Tommy...

Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin is explaining her changing votes on economic sanctions against Iran. Baldwin's made her remarks to a Wisconsin Jewish group Sunday.
Sunday's morning's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ran an analysis of Baldwin's recent support for sanctions against Iran, compared to some votes a few years ago against the sanctions. The newspaper called her switch of positions, an election year flip-flop. But Baldwin told a forum at a Milwaukee Jewish Center that her votes against the sanctions were designed to help a pro-democracy movement in Iran that was trying to overthrow the Iranian government, "It was referred to as the green revolution."
The Iranian government later crushed the attempted overthrow. Baldwin is getting support from the Jewish group J Street. Milwaukee chapter President Michael Schaalman says Baldwin now supporting sanctions isn't a flip-flop. "I think in fact, it's creative able thinking."
But Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson blasted Baldwin's explanation for her anti-sanctions votes, "That...

Sunday was a bustling afternoon at the Janesville Mall, where Mark Lestarge was taking a break from his studies at Blackhawk Technical College. After twenty years in the declining neon sign business, he decided to go back to school and study an industry with a brighter future - information technology.
Lestarge is just one of many in Janesville whose eyes are closely watching the presidential race, especially vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. He says his biggest concern this election year is the economy.
“It’s not a one party issue,” he lamented.
Lestarge says he will vote for whomever is more willing to work with the other side. He’s part of the minority who hasn’t decided who would make a better president. At this point, however, he sees President Barack Obama promoting more bipartisan efforts than Governor Romney.
“I see Mitt Romney saying it as, ‘We have to do the change. We have to make the change,’”...

It was a dreary Sunday morning at the Rock County Farmer’s Market outside Janesville. Some of the voters there had health insurance; some of them didn’t. All of them said they wanted to make sure their vote in this year’s presidential election would protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 
These photos are part of Wisconsin Public Radio's Road to November series. Reporters Maureen McCollum and Lindsey Moon are traveling north along Highway 51 talking to voters about the election all this week. What issue is most important to you? Tweet @WPRNews #WIpolitics. Find updates from the road on WPRNews' Facebook page.

A day after debating Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, Vice President Joe Biden addressed an estimated 2000 people in a packed hall on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus.
Biden’s energy seemed to carry over from the previous night's debate against Ryan. Biden spent much of his speech comparing the differences between him and the congressman from Janesville.
Biden talked about tax policies, ending the war in Afghanistan, and empowering the middle class. The crowd seemed to make the most noise as Biden touched on women’s issues. “Barack Obama and Joe Biden are absolutely, positively, firmly committed to ensuring that our daughters and my granddaughters have the exact same rights and opportunities to control their lives as my sons and my grandsons," he said.  "Exact same rights. Make no mistake about that!”
After the speech, retired teacher Malita Hanson of Tomah said she’s glad the vice president reiterated his stance on the War in Afghanistan.  “It’s...