Beer and brat summit in Wisconsin a good 'first step'

After surviving a nasty recall election, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker tried to put bitter partisan fighting behind him and state lawmakers on Tuesday with a picnic at the governor's mansion. About 98 of the state's 132 lawmakers – 60 Republicans, 37 Democrats and one independent – attended. There were friendly conversations -- and one hug.

Lawmakers emerged from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's highly publicized "brat summit" Tuesday saying the political ice cream social was a good first step in the healing process, but more would be needed to help move the state beyond the rancor of the past 16 months, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. The paper had images of the event, which had banned the press.

The concept of a beer and brat summit had been dismissed as a publicity stunt by critics, despite the fact that the event was not open to the public, the Wisconsin State Journal reports. But immediately following the party, most attendees seemed willing to give those on the other side of the aisle the benefit of the doubt, the paper says.

The summit had the air of an international peace conference, with a news helicopter circling overhead, protesters yelling outside the gates and lawmakers ushered onto the grounds under tight security, the Associated Press says.

Some lawmakers boycotted the event, TMJ4 in Milwaukee reported.

Walker irked teetotalers with the event. "I don't think it's cool at all," said Rita Wert, president of the Woman's Christian Temperance Movement, the AP reports.

The summit featured Wisconsin products, the Chippewa Herald notes.

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