Walker & Barrett hold last debate before recall electionWisconsin News
-- Governor Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett sparred over several key issues during their second-and-final debate last night before Tuesday’s Walker recall election.
MILWAUKEE - Governor Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett sparred over several key issues during their second-and-final debate last night before Tuesday’s Walker recall election.
Barrett stayed on the offensive. He produced a court filing which said prosecutors sought the John Doe investigation into Walker’s former Milwaukee County aides because Walker was quote, “unwilling or unable” to provide information. The Republican Walker said his own county executive’s office asked for the John Doe, and said he was unable – not unwilling – to produce evidence from a veterans’ volunteer in an embezzlement case. Barrett repeated his demand that Walker produce e-mails from an alleged secret network set up in his former county office. Walker said he has not released the e-mails at the request of the prosecutors in the John Doe. The governor said quote, “My integrity has always been high – and it will continue to be at a high level of integrity long after all of this is done.”
Another key exchange involved the near-elimination of collective bargaining by most public unions – the original reason for the Walker recall effort. Moderator Mike Gousha asked Walker to explain his remarks to Beloit businesswoman Diane Hendricks when he said he’d use a “divide and conquer” strategy against the unions. Walker said he was talking about standing up to special interests and quote, “put the power back in the hands of taxpayers.” But Barrett accused Walker of pitting people against each other because quote, “That’s the way you operate.” And Barrett said his comment to Hendricks signaled his support for a right-to-work law – something Walker again denied he would propose. But Barrett said Walker would sign such a bill if lawmakers pass it, saying quote, “He would have a fall from grace from the far right if he would say he’s going to veto that.” Walker said his bargaining reforms were part of a budget-balancing effort that helped save a billion dollars for taxpayers. Walker said tough decisions had to be made to get it done. And the governor accused Barrett of not having his own economic plan. Walker and Barrett also sparred over job numbers, the governor’s massive out-of-state campaign fund-raising, and Barrett’s possible role in inaccurately reporting crime in Milwaukee.
The debate was held at Marquette University and was covered by national and international media such as CBS News and the Sunday Times of London.
Both candidates in Tuesday’s recall election for governor will appear with national political figures today. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will join Republican Scott Walker at a Quad-Graphics printing facility in Sussex. And former President Bill Clinton will join Democrat Tom Barrett in an early voting rally at Pere Marquette Park in downtown Milwaukee. They’ll encourage voters to cast absentee ballots. This is the final day that early voting will take place in person at municipal clerks’ offices around the Badger State. Like Walker, Haley has been getting national attention for her willingness to take on her state’s public unions. Haley said on Fox News this week that her efforts as a quote, “union buster” has caused South Carolina to prosper economically.
Today is the final day that Wisconsinites can cast absentee ballots at clerk’s offices for Tuesday’s recall election.