Wisconsin's tense race for governor got some political star power Wednesday, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie urging Republicans to step up their support for a potential presidential rival, Scott Walker. First Lady Michelle Obama, meanwhile, was campaigning for former state commerce secretary Mary Burke.
Christie and Walker sidestepped any talk of a 2016 nomination fight against each other.
"He would do good at any executive position he wanted to pursue," Christie said of Walker. "I know this much — because I've spoken to him about it — he's not interested in anything beyond November 4th and neither am I. Whatever happens beyond November 4th will be decisions that he'll make about his future and anyone else considering it will make about theirs."
"My plan, if the voters will have me, is to be governor for the next four years," Walker said.
Walker is in a tough re-election campaign against Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive and state commerce secretary.
First lady Michelle Obama was campaigning for Burke later Monday in Milwaukee.
In two western Wisconsin appearances, Christie held Walker up as someone with both honesty and integrity. He contrasted that with Burke who is being criticized by Walker and Republicans as a plagiarist for having language and ideas in her jobs plan also used by four other Democratic gubernatorial candidates.
Burke blamed a consultant who worked for all of the campaigns and cut ties with him.
"If you can't trust her honesty and her integrity when she tells you this is her plan, why would you trust her on anything else she tells you about what she'll do for Wisconsin or Scott's record?" Christie said at a local Republican Party headquarters.
Christie needled Burke's credentials as a Harvard Business School graduate. Walker does not have a college degree.
"I didn't go to Harvard Business School but I don't think they were teaching plagiarism," Christie said.
Walker and Christie also toured a heavy equipment manufacturing plant that was used as a backdrop to talk about Wisconsin's job recovery. The state has added more than 100,000 private sector jobs under Walker, far short of the 250,000 he promised would come in his first term.
Christie and Walker downplayed their potential 2016 rivalry. Christie, who campaigned for Walker during his 2012 recall launched after Walker took on public sector unions, said this campaign was personal to him.
"Scott has done the things that a good governor needs to do," Christie said. "He's made the hard decisions. He deserves to be re-elected."
The most recent Marquette University Law School poll released two weeks ago showed Walker and Burke running about even. A new poll was to be released on Wednesday.
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