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Decision 2006-In Depth On The Campaign Trail With Governor Doyle

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Madison: The day begins at the Governor's Mansion. It's almost 9 am and Jim Doyle is about to do a conference call. He's been up for a few hours., but his staff knows better than to schedule events too early.

"They know I get a little testy if they cut into my workout time," says Doyle.

It's a political call so he has to use a campaign cell phone. He has two staffers nearby monitoring and moderating the call. He's speaking with agriculture leaders and reporters from around the state. "I look forward to four more years of great growth in agriculture in Wisconsin."

After the conference call it's time for an interview on a local talk radio program. Off air, the self described basketball nut is talking UW hoops with the host of the program. "Taylor is a 2-guard, point guard type, right? He's a scoring point guard."

On air, he's going after Rush Limbaugh for attacking a campaign ad featuring Michael J. Fox. "The thought that we're in the middle of Rush Limbaugh giving lectures to Michael J Fox about how and when he should take medication is just offensive."

The day is scheduled tight and after the interview Doyle has just a minute before his convoy heads out to the Coliseum for a speech before the Wisconsin Education Association Council. Backstage it's like a mini-Democratic Party Convention.

Onstage, Doyle receives a number of standing ovations and after his speech it's back in the car and on to La Crosse.

On the road, the suburban is a work zone. "A lot of the job is done in the backseat of a vehicle."

It's one phone call after another, and even a quick stop at McDonalds for lunch turns into a campaign event.

The Governor says there's not a lot of downtime. "I'm going full speed and then it's time to go to bed," but he's also not afraid to put his foot down for Packer games and his favorite TV show. "Last night I had to switch my schedule around so I could see "Lost.""

And there is one daily activity you don't mess with. "Just for record, this is the New York Times crossword puzzle."

The Governor likes his crossword and just because there's a few blanks on the sheet doesn't mean he's stuck. "I don't get stuck."

Once in La Crosse Doyle sneaks in through the kitchen to speak to the Association of Wisconsin School Administrators. "Thank you for having me here this morning-this afternoon-whatever it is, I don't know anymore."

After another standing ovation it's on to Gunderson Lutheran to talk about healthcare. After speaking to employees and then to the administration in a private meeting Doyle has one more stop-this time at a home where a mother is fretting about college expenses.

This was a short day with only 4 stops and two calls, but the Governor was satisfied. "What I'm trying to do is pretty basic stuff-see as many people as I can see, shake as many hands, let people see me."

An hour after leaving La Crosse the Governor called to say he'd finished the crossword. "I always get them."


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