Ron Johnson flip-flops on gun control following Feingold ad

Yesterday I highlighted the new radio ad, “Stuff,” being run by Sen. Russ Feingold’s campaign, and on the heels of that ad getting some radio time across the state comes news that one of Sen. Feingold’s Republican challengers, businessman (and empty suit) Ron Johnson is retracting statements he made earlier this summer supporting the licensing of firearms. Johnson made his comments in support of licensing firearms at a vetting session held by the Rock River Patriots, a Tea Party group in South-Central Wisconsin.

Here’s Johnson’s retraction/flip-flop on the issue of firearm licensing:

“In my first days as a candidate, I used the wrong terms when discussing my strong support for gun rights and concealed carry here in Wisconsin. I’m a first-time candidate and I made a mistake. I used the term ‘licensing’ when I meant permits for the right to carry a concealed weapon. Wisconsin is one of only two states whose citizens do not have that basic constitutional right. I do not, nor will I ever, support licensing or registration of firearms.”

Responding to Johnson’s flip-flop on gun licensing, Feingold’s campaign issued a statement of their own:

“Once again, Ron Johnson won’t shoot straight with voters and take responsibility for what he says. Never before has a candidate so quickly mastered political double talk, reinventing his own words to suit his political ambitions. Russ Feingold has never needed a do-over when it comes to opposing gun registration.”

Ron Johnson can flip-flop all he wants on the issue of gun control, but no amount of spin can undo the fact that he said he supports licensing guns like we license drivers, a position that ironically enough puts him in stark opposition to the Democrat he’s looking to unseat in November.

However, the fact that Ron Johnson’s so furiously trying to backtrack from his earlier statements shows just how much of an empty suit he really is by trying to be “everything to everyone” and hoping no one will notice his willingness to change his stated positions to suit his own political ambitions. Despite not being a “career politician,” Ron Johnson certainly has mastered the art of speaking out of both sides of his mouth at a very early stage in his U.S. Senate campaign.


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33 thoughts on “Ron Johnson flip-flops on gun control following Feingold ad

  1. ROJO says what he means, then the repub spin machine tells him how he should think with official press releases.

    FYI: I actually agree with the real rojo here and not Feingold, but the hypocrisy is blatant. Had Russ said this exact sentence, Hannity would lead his show off with it every single night until election.

  2. It’s not at all a flip-flop. Astonishingly (for any politician) he’s addressed the screw up honestly, admitting he made a mistake. Fact of the matter is, it is (and was at the time) very clear that what he meant and what he said were two different things – and exactly as he said, as a first-time candidate, he’s still learning. Go ahead & rip on him for that – without question it’s a valid criticism and accusing him of not being ready for prime-time is certainly fair. I don’t know if this is better or worse than flip-flopping but it’s what actually happened.

    1. “what he meant and what he said were two different things.” Ugh, maybe because he has no idea what he actually means when he’s answering some of these questions. Seriously, he had no stance on any issue until Reince and his buddies gave him one. Come on, Johnson is clearly buying this Senate seat. I’m a conservative but I can’t stand the uprising of Johnson. It’s pathetic. He admitted he’s not a constitutional scholar, said it was a difficult document to understand. Also said, he can’t even do his own taxes. (He IS an accountant). His initial answers to questions in this campaign were laughable, if not alarming. His money certainly is the cause for his popularity and how sad is that? Without it, he’d be a joke of a candidate. He even admitted, as we all know, that he got in to this race b/c of a shout out by Dick Morris for a rich guy in Wisconsin to run against Feingold.

      Johnson won’t even talk to the media. Won’t show up to debates or TEA party events. Oh, except for the one in Washington County where he gave his stump speech. Hmmm, funny how Westlake and Neumann had to submit their speeches 10 days prior to the event and have it be void of anything that had to do with their candidacies – or their sound would be cut off. Yet, Walker and Johnson completely ignored the rules and were allowed to continue anyway. Johnson does not impress me – and after all these years, neither does the republican party of WI. Maybe one day, the guy with the clean campaign, the guy who actually follows the rules, the guy with principle, the guy who may not necessarily have millions of dollars but is determined to go to Washington for all the right reasons will be voted in to office to represent the people of WI. Is that too much to ask? I know too much and I’m afraid it is.

      1. Doesn’t that describe feingold? If you want to say kohl buys his seat for a hobby, I will agree with you, but I think feingold is in it for the right reasons!

        1. Hah – sorry proud progressive, I’m no progressive but at least Feingold knows where he stands on the issues – and at least I know where he stands on them. Difficult to know exactly where Johnson stands.

      2. What is this, a Student Body president race? The same whining about the TEA speeches right off of Westlake’s facebook page. Ron Johnson is just as much of a Patriot as “I went to West Point for college” Dave Westlake is. Ron is not running simply because of the Morris comment and it is totally ridiculous to try and claim that. Johnson is also a decent guy who happens to be successful in running a business. So, we demonize him in a primary when he is on our side? You sound like a liberal!!!

        Still like Dave as a person, but his message is not getting out there to the masses. It’s too late!!!

        Grassroots feel for a campaign is one thing, but total lack of professionalism is another.

        1. “The same whining about the TEA speeches right off of Westlake’s facebook page.” Seriously? You even stating this sounds like whining to me.

          “Ron is not running simply because of the Morris comment” – yeah, sorry, I didn’t mention “to repeal Obamacare.” What conservative doesn’t want to repeal Obamacare? This is not reason enough to run for U.S. Senate. Whine all you want, I do NOT get the appeal of your beloved chosen one.

          1. The fact that I am pointing out what appears to be childish complaints from the Westlake camp does not make me the whiner. Once again, Ron is a decent conservative man. What are you going to do when he wins? Stay home and give Feingold more of a chance? What is the goal here? To replace the liberal with a conservative.

            I am sorry that I am not a purist like you. Although there is NO SUCH THING as a perfect candidate, I would have liked for Westlake to win. Alas,it became apparent months ago that it would not happen. You can not advertise in a US Senate race by word of mouth. You need money to do that!

            1. O.k. whoa – I am not a liberal and I am NOT a purist – in fact a couple of things that Westlake believes so greatly in, I do not. I am simply frustrated with the way Johnson was catapulted in to this race. Sorry, but he is almost embarrassing to listen to. You say you would have liked Westlake to win. I will say that it is a shame the few at the top of the party couldn’t realize that a lot of people would have liked to see him win. I’ve talked to many people who have met Westlake and really like him. How are we going to change Washington if we just say we need to replace the old with the new when all we are doing is putting in someone new all the while being guided by the old guard. AND THEN, what happens when he goes to Washington and is put under pressure and he doesn’t have handlers telling him what to do and what to say? Westlake couldn’t self-finance his campaign but if the annoying few at the top would have (along with talk radio) given him the time of day – he would have had the financial backing needed and he’d be further ahead in the polls than Johnson is right now. Johnson’s campaign tried to hi-jack Westlake’s grassroots movement and TEA party involvement. Johnson would be an ideal candidate with all that money of his if he was really who he has been made out to be. Alas, he is not.

              1. Johnson’ campaign did NOT hijack the TEA Party. The TEA party likes him. He came out saying he supported the TEA party and he does. Let’s get our facts straight here.

                Ron is embarrassing? Westlake has gone from sounding somewhat passionate when he speaks to DRAMATIC and not in the good sense of the word. People, including myself liked Dave more in the beginning until we saw how thin his skin really is (along with the drama factor). He is just not ready for prime-time.

                1. The “tea” party seems to like anyone who has an R after their name(hmmmmmm).

                  The thing is every time ROJO strays from the closed mind right wing minor league noise machine(sykes/belling/mckenna), then there has to be a press release shortly thereafter explaining what he really meant to say.

                  1. Why would very conservative TEA party people likeanythingwith a D after their name? No Dem is conservative enough for our liking

                    1. I thought the “tea” parties were non partisan grassroots populist movement? Besides as we noted earlier, Feingold is more fiscally conservative than most on the right and is also more pro gun that ROJO. He also voted against the Patriot act and all “free” trade deals. So why wouldnt the tea party support russ?

  3. You don’t have to agree with him politically to know he isn’t some millionaire trying to buy a seat. I respect what westlake is doing.

    1. So… you don’t like millionaires running (cough, cough Herb Kohl) but you also probably don’t like candidates who have to raise money. It’s partly thanks to Feingold’s campaign finance debacle that only a millionaire can serioulsy challenge an entrenched and well-financed incumbent like Russ.

      1. if you notice i already acknowledged that Kohl buys his seat and uses it for a hobby. I personally wont vote for Kohl(bit thats another blog). What we need is public financing of campaigns and impartial redistricting and the entrenched paul ryans of the world would have to earn their seat!

        1. Public financing! I knew that was coming. So every weirdo and nutcase can use my tax dollars to run for office. No thanks. I’ll support candidates of my own choosing, not have my money confiscated from me.

          1. I am not a big supporter of public finance either…but do think some common sense campaign reform is in order. But if you’ve checked many of the primary ballots around the state and the nation, what makes you think every nut case who wants to run isn’t already doing so?

  4. I also don’t get what D.C. pundits see in Johnson, because the guy can’t give more than 2 meaningful sentences on anything that deviates from some Chamber of Commerce-sponsored talking point. I guess D.C. insiders hate true independents that call it as they see it, and want to keep driving their story line of “Outsiders and Republicans gaining ground,” even though there’s nothing outside of the Beltway that indicates this. Johnson’s “strength” is like Sarah Palin’s “strength”: it exists only in the mind of pundits and a loud squawking minority. Once real people speak, they have no chance of winning anything, and in fact, probably turn more people away from the candidates they back.

    Last I checked, Wisconsinites will decide who their Senator will be, and they sure aren’t choosing someone who calls job loss “creative destruction” and flip-flops on Afgahnistan, the 2nd Amendment, and pretty much anything else. Feingold’s gonna roll to victory, especially when it becomes obvious that a majority of Westlake’s voters will support him. I’m just annoyed at the media’s cynical games and coverage.

    1. Feingold will NOT win re-election. This is the year it is going to happen. Little fact for you. Although it’s not WI, it is a sample of what is going on nationally. CO senate primary 406K GOP voters went to the polls, while only 328K Dem showed up. GOP is on fire and ready to end this administrations reign on our nation. Our President talks like a dictator more often than not. The Arrogant One he is…

  5. Huh- And more people will vote in the Wisconsin GOP primary than the Dem one. You know why? THAT’S WHERE THE INTERESTING CONTESTED RACES ARE. If you’re clinging to that silly idea that more primary votes = gen. election harbinger, I got some numbers in Kentucky and other “red” states this year that would make your hair stand on end. Primary turnout doesn’t mean much.

    RoJo has nothing but empty talk, and not much that resonates with people that make a difference…kinda like you. No wonder you’re one of the few that relate. Russ by 10.

    1. FYI, Kentucky has a closed party primary election, meaning you must register as a Democrat or Republican to vote in that party’s primary. Wisconsin has an open primary, so I’m not sure how valid state to state comparisons may be.

  6. Forgot the point is the Dems had a higher turnout in KY primary than did the repubs even though their primary was high profile.

    In Co Benet is a very bad corporatist candidate, so he is not going to draw out the base of support.

  7. if rojo can go the whole race avoiding talking to people and answering questions then feingold by 5, If rojo actually does some town halls and debates…feingold by 9

  8. Wow! It’s amazing that you can twist someone’s words so much after quoting his actual statements. It is perfectly clear that Johnson simply misused a term and then corrected it. And you claim that he didn’t take responsibility for his comment when his clarification did exactly that. It is perfectly clear that you are so ideological that you can’t think clearly. Amazing! You have revealed to everyone who read your comment that you are irrational and unreasonable. So much for your credibility!

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