Countdown to recall: Barrett on fire during debate with Walker


Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett showed a lot of “give ‘em hell” Harry Truman fight during last night’s second and final Wisconsin gubernatorial recall debate.

An amazing exchange began when Republican Gov. Scott Walker, under questioning about the “John Doe” investigation of some Walker’s former aides, brought up a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story that found the Barrett’s police department had under-reported violent crime rates by classifying some incidents as minor assaults.

Barrett accused Walker of running an inappropriate attack ad based on the crime stats story.  Watch the Walker ad:

Barrett compared the Walker ad to the infamous Bush “Willie Horton” ad of the 1988 presidential campaign against Democrat Mike Dukakis. 

“He’s running a commercial right now that shows a dead baby.  He shows a picture of a dead baby.  This is Willie Horton stuff,” said Barrett.

“That baby died. The person who killed that baby was arrested by the Milwaukee Police, was prosecuted by the Milwaukee county district attorney. They did their job. But you know what they did wrong? After the baby died, they didn’t change the code. It was a bureaucratic mistake.”

“I’ll tell you right now, I had nothing to do with that,” Barrett continued.  ”Look at that commercial.  You should be ashamed of that commercial, Scott Walker.”

Walker contended the attack was legitimate because Barrett had campaigned on a downturn in violent crime in Milwaukee.

Barrett retorted: “I have a police department that arrests felons.  He has a practice of hiring them.”

Ed will have expanded coverage of the Wisconsin recall with John Nichols, Washington Correspondent of The Nation, tonight onThe Ed Show at 8pET on msnbc!  Ed will also be live from Wisconsin on Monday and Tuesday, June 4-5.

Tom Barrett and Scott Walker

Countdown to recall: Barrett on fire during debate with Walker