TAMPA, Florida — There have been some elections in the past when observers have complained that you can't tell the difference between the Democrats and Republicans.
But — according to former Gov. Tommy Thompson — that's clearly not the case in the 2012 race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
"We’re going to have two distinct visions of America — one that's a government-controlled system and one that is more free, independent, capitalistic and focuses on private enterprise," Thompson said Tuesday during an interview at the Republican National Convention.
"And the jurors — the voters — have to make a decision. It’s going to be for all the marbles," he added. "You either go in a new direction or you stay with what I would consider a failed direction of the Obama administration.
"It is no more, 'I can’t tell the difference.' I know the difference," Thompson said. "I know what’s going to happen if they go with the left; I know what’s going to happen if they go with the right."
High Hopes for Romney This Fall
Thompson — not surprisingly — believes voters in Wisconsin and throughout the country will "go with the right" by backing Romney.
"Governor Romney is saying to America that we’re not going to have a caretaker type of government," Thompson said. "We’re problem-solvers and we’re going to solve the problems of America one-by-one."
If Romney does carry Wisconsin in the Nov. 6 election, he would be the first Republican presidential candidate to do so since Ronald Reagan in 1984.
And Thompson, who is against Democrat Tammy Baldwin, believes having his name on the ballot will help give Romney an edge in the Badger State.
"I think I’m going to help Mitt Romney carry Wisconsin," he said. "I have a strong presence in Wisconsin — 88 percent of the people still know me. And I do well in areas that Republicans have not done well before.
"I’m the only Republican who has ever carried Douglas County, and I’m the only Republican who has ever carried Dane County (in 1998)," he added.
All Eyes on Wisconsin
Thompson said Wisconsin has become the "epicenter" of national politics this year. The selection of means Wisconsin has again become a "swing state" in the presidential race — four years after Obama carried the state by 14 percentage points.
And if Thompson wins against Baldwin, there's a possibility that victory could give Republicans control of the U.S. Senate come January.
"There is not another state that has more going for it politically than the state of Wisconsin," he said. "You really have the best political scenario here. I don’t think you can script it any better than what it is right now."