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Americans for Prosperity pushes a different message on day Obama visits Madison
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Hilgemann: 'We are going to make the message loud and clear that we've had enough of business as usual in Washington.'
Credit:Joe Tarr

Madison is overwhelmingly friendly territory for President Obama, but some of his enemies nevertheless attempted to set up camp here Thursday to denounce his policies.

Americans for Prosperity -- the tea party group funded heavily by the Koch brothers -- brought one of its three buses to VFW Post 1318 on Lakeside Drive just off of John Nolen Drive.

Luke Hilgemann, director for AFP Wisconsin, said the group "wanted an opportunity to take it right to the president, to let him know his economic policies are failing."

About 50 to 60 people, some of them journalists, gathered in the parking lot of the VFW to hear AFP speakers.

Some of the rhetoric was puffed-up bravado intended to fire up the troops, such as when Hilgemann said "business are flocking" to Wisconsin because of policies Gov. Scott Walker has put in place. Or when he said "When president Obama comes here today, he's going to see this bus and we are going to make the message loud and clear that we've had enough of business as usual in Washington."

Um, a bus with 50 people -- even if it were able to get within sight of the president -- is unlikely to sway the president, especially while surrounded by thousands of supporters.

When it started to rain, the group moved inside where about 25 people made phone calls to likely independent or undecided voters, hoping to encourage them to vote for Romney.

Reporters were eyed suspiciously at the event and few wanted to give their names, if they'd even speak to the press. An 81-year-old man from Waukesha, who wouldn't give his name, said he was a Democrat years ago, but then started voting for Republicans.

The last Democratic candidate he supported for president was John F. Kennedy. "If John Kennedy was alive today, he'd be running as a Republican, not a Democrat," the man said.

Obama, he said, was a fraud. "Most people don't know who Obama really is. I know who he is," he said. "Obama is clearly an anti-Western, anti-American individual." He doubts he is a Christian.

"The thing that scares me most about ObamaCare is I know there are going to be death panels," he said. "They won't call them death panels. But if somebody is 90 and they need a hip replacement to have a few more productive years... they'll give them the blue pill."

But the AFP leaders stuck with talking points about the economy and jobs. National AFP president Tim Phillips told the crowd: "The reason the president did so poorly last night is he was forced to defend a whole list of failed economic policies," Phillips told the crowd. "The truth is, Americans are smart. They know failed policies when they see them.

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