Wisconsin gov.: I didn't block opposition website

Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a news conference inside the Wisconsin State Capitol
Republican Gov. Scott Walker speaks at a news conference inside the Wisconsin State Capitol February 21, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.
Getty Images/Eric Thayer

Here's a sign of how nasty the standoff between Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker and the union protesterswho are rallying against Walker's proposal to eliminate most of their collective bargaining rights: A skirmish broke out Tuesday over whether Walker had purposely blocked access in the Capitol building to a left-leaning website used to rally protesters.

Amid reports that the site -- defendwisconsin.org - was inaccessible on Monday and Tuesday morning, Wisconsin Democratic Party press secretary Graeme Zielinski pointed the finger at Walker and other Republicans, accusing them of a "direct assault on the First Amendment." A liberal blogger at the website ThinkProgress accused Walker of "taking a page from former Egyptian Dictator Hosni Mubarak and cutting off internet access to key protest organizers within the state Capitol building."

Walker's spokesman, Cullen Werwie, released a statement to CBS News calling the accusation that the site had been intentionally blocked a "lie."

"The Department of Administration blocks all new websites shortly after they are created, until they go through a software approval program that unblocks them," the statement said. "Within 30 minutes of being notified this website was blocked, DOA circumvented the software and immediately made the website accessible."

Werwie added that "The Democratic Party should spend less time lying about Gov. Walker and more time trying to get their AWOL state senators back to Wisconsin." Democratic senators have fled the state in an effort to prevent a vote on Walker's proposal.

The Journal-Sentinel of Milwaukee reports that defendwisconsin.org was created by University of Wisconsin teaching and graduate assistants to disseminate information about protests and Walkers' proposals. Zielinski, from the Wisconsin Democratic Party, reportedly cast the claim that there is automatic vetting for new sites as inaccurate.

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