At 8:12 p.m. yesterday this blog posted (see below) the following:
In an interview with Frank Schultz of the Gazette, Sen. Cullen stated that he supported only “one more day of holding out”: “‘I think we made our point, and I think it does give people another day or so to find out what’s in the bill, if they care to find out,’ Cullen said.”
These comments match what Sen. Cullen said in an interview with WKBT at the capitol on February 17, just before he and the other “Badger 14” senators fled the state. In that interview Sen. Cullen made clear he was not a strong proponent of the senators abandoning the capitol. He “wasn’t part of the decision” to do so, made by the Democrat caucus, and he didn’t understand the point of the effort: “I asked what the endgame was, and I didn’t get an answer. That’s what concerns me. . . . I don’t understand the endgame.” Video of that interview here. (Video of an interview conducted later in the day by Mary Carol of LocalVisionTV.com in Beloit, apparently done en route during Sen. Cullen’s flight from Madison south of the border to Rockford, available here.)
Even if he cannot persuade the others to do so, Sen. Cullen himself can return to the capitol today as he promised, after giving “people another day or so to find out what’s in the bill, if they care to find out,” which he explained yesterday was the point of his participation in holding out. Will he keep his promise?
As was done yesterday on this blog, this post will be updated throughout the day as events warrant.
Update (12:19 p.m.): The Associated Press has video of Sen. Jon Erpenbach interviewed in a Chicago hotel room, here. With unwitting humor, Erpenbach says (around 0:55) that he fled the state and thereby violated his duty to attend the legislative session so he could protect the union tradition in Wisconsin — one “almost as sacred as deerhunting is.” The report concludes by stating the Democrats have “vowed to stay as long as necessary to get the concessions they want.” (H/t, commentator “lemondog” on Althouse.)
Update (12:28 p.m.): In an effort to encourage the recall movement, yesterday morning “Factmart,” a member of the FreeRepublic.com community posted this comment, which has elicited a large number of comments, many supplying helpful information: “Wisconsin Freepers, We need to recall Senate Democrats and picket at their homes to go to work!” Here. (Note: this blog is strongly in favor of the recall movement but does not endorse any picketing of the senators’ homes.)
Update (2:32 p.m.): Yesterday CNN’s Parker/Spitzer show featured audio of an interview conducted with “on the lam” Sen. Chris Larson. Video clip here; transcript of entire program here. When asked how long he and the other “Badger 14” would remain in legislative exile, Sen. Larson replied, “until they take these draconian measures off the table.” Referencing the opponents of the “dictators” he says he’s battling, Sen. Larson said he and the other senators would remain “standing with them in spirit, just across the border.” Yesterday Sen. Larson also appeared on the Democracy Now program. A video and transcript of the program is available here. When asked why he’s not at the capitol during the legislative session, Sen. Larson said it’s because the Republicans “decided this is not going to be a negotiation, its going to be their way or the highway. So we chose the highway.”
Update (2:55 p.m.): Yesterday Minnesota Public Radio posted audio here of a Feb. 17 interview of Sen. Kathleen Vinehout in which she give a detailed insider chronology of how she and the other “Badger 14” senators reached a decision to flee the state, and the mechanics of their flight: “We left early on Thursday, and before the Senate convened we were across the state line, which then, basically meant that the tate patrol, if they were sent out to bring senators in, couldn’t cross the state line, which was the whole deal about the state line.” When asked what would it take to get her and the other senators back to the Legislature, she said that “there has to be some negotiation,” and complained that to date the Governor has “refused to negotiate.”
Update (6:09 p.m.): As previously noted, Sen. Chris Larson has been tweeting on the situation, and he has now announced that Sen. Julie Lassa is now tweeting as well. Here. Sen. Lassa’s twitter feed is here. Lassa’s latest update demands that Gov. Walker “get to the table!” Interesting coming from a senator who is not at the table, indeed, not even in the state.
Update (9:18 p.m.): The American Thinker blog carries a hard-hitting essay today by Sonny Palermo entitled “Mockery of Democracy — the Wayward Senators of Wisconsin,” here. Of the “Badger 14,” he observes: “On CNN, John Nichols of The Nation referred to them as heroes, with fighters’ spirits. Running away? Hiding? In what Bizarro World does this pass as courage?
They hijacked the political process. They made a mockery of democracy. Elected to a job they abandoned, swore an oath to a duty they shirked.”
Update (9:23 p.m.): In a less serious vein, TheSpoof.com reports today: “Wisconsin Democratic Senators Found Hiding Out in Chilean Mine.”
Update (9:31 p.m.): In another of a growing collection of helpful photo arrays of Wisconsin’s outlaw senators, WeaselZippers.us offers this “Wisconsin Hall of Shame” webpage which helpfully includes the senators’ phone numbers. On Facebook, a page entitled “Missing Wisconsin State Senators” has been created under the WheresMySenator account, which depicts the “Badger 14” in red winter hats — and which reveals the office and home addresses of each senator when the cursor is moved over the photos, here.
Update (9:59 p.m.): One of the contributors to HillBuzz.com has posted a list of the “Badger 14” senators who are currently subject to recall and electoral data relevant to any recall petitions, here.
Update (10:27 p.m.): This afternoon Sen. Julie Lassa issued a written statement on the current situation, available here. Among other things, Sen. Lassa claims that she is holed up in an undisclosed location outside the state due to the machinations of “a shadowy group funded by out-of-state billionaires . . . .” She offers no hint of when she plans to return to her legislative duties at the capitol. See also here.