PolitiFact Wisconsin Vets Scott Walker's Sweater

April 5th, 2015 8:11 PM

Does anybody know what Barack Obama was doing during his college years? We know that he was the president of the Harvard Law Review but do we even know what articles, if any, he wrote for it? Beyond that his college years are almost completely blank as to his grades or activities to the extent that his time at Columbia University has been largely erased from memory. Compare that big MSM yawn to the recent mainstream media frenzy which included a 2223 word front page Washington Post story devoted to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's college career which ended before graduation. And now we have something of an MSM Crime Scene Investigation carried out by Politifact Wisconsin about Scott Walker's claim that he recently purchased a sweater at Kohl's department store for only a dollar.

So let us now enter the area marked off by the yellow tape. It is CSI Wisconsin, I mean, Politifact Wisconsin doing an in-depth investigation of if and how Scott Walker scored a dollar sweater at Kohl's. We await the results of their investigation with bated breath. The future of the nation could depend on its momentous outcome:

Gov. Scott Walker says he bought a sweater for $1 at Kohl's.

So screamed the skeptical headline. Now let us sift meticulously through the evidence.

At the center of the story: A new sweater, a dollar and Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s.

Ahh! A woollen material witness. The sweater!

Walker likes to point out that shortly after he was married, his wife, Tonette, was mortified because he didn’t know the drill at Kohl’s. In Concord, N.H., he told the crowd at a March 14, 2015 workshop about a "critical mistake" he made while shopping at a Kohl’s store.

"I went to a Kohl's department store and I bought something for the price it was marked at," Walker said, adding that he’s now been "trained well" about how to shop at Kohl’s.

So well that he pointed to the brownish-colored sweater he was wearing and declared: "We paid one dollar for it with our Kohl’s Cash."

A buck?

Impossible! Well, except for the fact that your humble correspondent, obsessive couponer that he is, once scored a stack of free T-shirts (and a jackknife) at Kohl's. But back to the in-depth PolitiFact investigation...

Now, we grant this is not the most important topic in politics today. But we decided to fact check it for two reasons. First, we heard from readers from around the country who thought it was an unbelievable story -- as in, literally impossible to believe. Second, it goes to what has been a major theme of Walker’s visits to some of the early primary states -- that he is just an average guy.

The readers who think it is an impossible story are probably liberal wealthy types to whom saving money via coupons is "beneath" them.

When we asked a spokeswoman for Walker’s exploratory campaign group, Our American Revival, about the $1 sweater, we didn’t receive a response.

Coverup! Coverup! Or, in the case of the sweater, coverover!

Could we score a sweater just like the nifty henley that Walker donned in New Hampshire? And, more importantly, could we do it for next to nothing?

Walker indicated on Twitter that he bought the sweater while in the Granite State.

He didn’t identify the location, but there is a Kohl’s in Hooksett, about 13 miles from Concord. We called the store, and an employee in menswear said all of the store’s henley sweaters were mixed with other items on clearance racks.

Based on photos of Walker in the sweater, it appears to be a "Chaps Twisted Button Mock Sweater" in a color called "walnut twist." We couldn’t find that sweater available on the Kohl’s web site, so we visited the Kohl’s store in Glendale to paw through the clearance racks.

Perhaps you should have "accidentally" grabbed a very small patch of Walker's sweater in order to do a microfiber analysis to make the match.

There we found plenty of Chaps sweaters marked between 80 and 90 percent off -- an even deeper cut than the 70% Walker cited when describing the deal. Some of the sweaters we found were originally priced at $70 and marked down to $7.

Now, that’s not $1. But Walker did say he used his "Kohl’s Cash" -- a coupon of sorts that is generated based on how much a customer purchased in an earlier visit to the store.

Thus, he could have easily gotten one for $1 out-of-pocket. We rate the claim True.

A wave of relief sweeps over the Scott Walker campaign team as they pass investigative muster with PolitiFact Wisconsin.

Exit question: Would PolitiFact investigate your humble correspondent if he claims that the very laptop he is typing out this story on was obtained for free via coupons? Perhaps not if I can manage to get the magic D by my name.