Wisconsin Republican Fails To Support Claim That White House Is Behind Recall Efforts

March 09, 2011 5:41 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

As the Wisconsin union-busting battle rages on, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) is starting to veer off-message. Earlier today, Fitzgerald questioned the legitimacy of the initiative to recall Wisconsin Republicans, wondering aloud whether the state statutes "shouldn't be revisited at some point." Later, he appeared on Fox News, where he repeatedly failed to provide any evidence to support his allegation that the White House is orchestrating the recall efforts against Republicans.

MEGYN KELLY (Host): So you say that the White House is behind this recall effort? I mean, the White House has done its level best in the past couple of weeks to take its fingerprints off this mess in Madison. What's your evidence?

FITZGERALD: Specifically, one of the targeted senators, Alberta Darling, the individual that filed the petition in that seat is a former member of MoveOn.org and also was very involved in President Obama's last election cycle in Wisconsin. It's what we suspected. There's eight recalls that have been launched and, as you know, Wisconsin has been a battleground state in the presidential election and there's a great deal at stake and certainly I've been told by not only some of the Wisconsin members of the congressional delegation, but those that are in labor, that this is about the presidential election in 2012. 

Fitzgerald's explanation wasn't good enough for host Megyn Kelly, who incredulously pointed out that the White House and President Obama's supporters aren't one and the same. Indeed, it's only logical that political activists — such as MoveOn members who were involved in a presidential campaign — would be the ones to initiate recall movements.

All Fitzgerald could muster in response was to say that Republicans are "doing the inquiries" to "figure out exactly what the ties are," while baselessly insisting that there's "definitely more to this."

KELLY: You came out with an allegation that the White House is behind the effort to recall these senators. And I gotta tell you, sir, listening to you here, it doesn't sound like you have the evidence for that. I mean, somebody from MoveOn who was involved in Obama's election push — I mean, shoot, that's all of MoveOn, and that's not the White House, that's MoveOn.

FITZGERALD: Well, the Republican Party of Wisconsin is doing the inquiries, the open records, to figure out exactly what are the ties at the government accountability board here in Wisconsin. But I'm still confident that this is not some grassroots movement to have eight Republican senators recalled. There's definitely more to this, and I think the linkage lies in one specific senate seat right now, but as things unfold, I think you're going to see there's more to it in each and every seat throughout the state.