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Obama encourages Milwaukee's mayor to run for governor

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The White House is apparently trying to get Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to run for governor, saying it's the best chance for Democrats to keep the office.

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Dan Bice says both a White House aide and Barrett supporters confirm that President Obama badly wants him to run next year.

Barrett has been waffling for months, and there was growing speculation last week he would not try to replace the retiring Jim Doyle.

Bice says the White House has private polls showing that Barrett would beat either Republicans Scott Walker or Mark Neumann next November.

Keeping Wisconsin Democratic could give Obama a better chance of being re-elected in 2012.

Barrett was one of the state's first Democrats to campaign for president last year, driving to Iowa to campaign for the then-senator from Illinois.

And both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden each called Barrett, a former congressman, when he was in hospital in late August after being assaulted while leaving the State Fair.

But state Republican Party director Mark Jefferson says Obama does not have a good track record of controlling state elections.

He said the president could not stop New York Gov. David Paterson from running, and he failed to convince challengers not to run against Pennsylvania Senate Democrat Arlen Specter.

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