ABC News’ Michael Falcone reports:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney became the latest potential 2012 presidential candidate to wade into the standoff between Republicans, Democrats and organized labor in Wisconsin on Thursday -- and he’s putting his money where his mouth is.
“Liberal big government interests are fighting efforts to rein in out-of-control public employee pay and benefits in Wisconsin,” Romney said in a statement issued by his political action committee. “It is critical that we stand with the Wisconsin GOP as it stands up for the rights of the taxpayer.”
Romney’s Free and Strong America PAC promptly cut a $5,000 contribution check -- the maximum allowable -- to the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Romney’s message did not mention by name Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has been pushing a bill that would limit collective bargaining rights from most public employees in the state. On Wednesday, Romney solicited donations via twitter "to support Governor Walker and WI GOP senators as they attempt to restore fiscal sanity."
Romney is not the first possible presidential candidate to weigh in on the Wisconsin situation. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s political action committee released a one-minute video in support of Gov. Walker earlier Thursday.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin posted a note on her Facebook page last week offering her support for Republican leaders who support changes to union rules.
“You don’t have to kowtow to the union bosses who are not looking out for you, but instead are using you,” Palin wrote. “Wisconsin union bosses want union members out in the streets demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for unsustainable benefits packages.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich posted a message online this week urging support for Gov. Walker.
“In Madison, Wisconsin, we are witnessing a profound struggle between the right of the people to govern themselves and the power of entrenched, selfish interests to stop reforms and defy the will of the people,” he wrote.
And, speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee advised Walker to “Hang tough, stand tall, hold your ground,” and called Democratic members of the state legislature “outrageously hypocritical” and “duplicitous.”