MILWAUKEE (WKOW) -- Stressing Wisconsin's upcoming recall election has national implications, former president Bill Clinton urged hundreds in Milwaukee to vote for democrat Tom Barrett and reject Governor Walker's bid to hold on to his office.
Speaking at Pere Marquette Park in the city's downtown, the former two term democratic president warned a Walker victory next Tuesday would lead wealthy, Tea Party-type factions across the country to move to dismantle labor unions.
Clinton drew on what he said were successes in Jacksonville, Florida and San Diego, California of people of different political philosophies coming together for the overall economic good, to brand Walker's approach unsuccessful. The recall movement began after Walker severely limited most public union collective bargaining.
Clinton said Wisconsin's image has suffered among observers outside the state.
"To see a place where there was vigorous political debate, closely held elections, and people getting together to figure out what to do, and now they look at Wisconsin and they see 'America's battleground,' between people who want to come together to solve problems and people who want to divide and conquer."
In a much-discussed documentarian's videotape, Walker used the "divide and conquer" term as he talked last year to a wealthy donor about his plans to curtail labor unions.
Barrett told the crowd polls show the race close. "This is all going to depend on who gets out the vote."
The most recent independent polling, from Marquette University visiting political science professor Charles Franklin, showed Walker leading Barrett 52-45.
Barrett has criticized Walker for being a "rock star" for the right, traveling across the country and raising millions from out of state. But Clinton's visit had the feel of political rock star's appearance, with dozens of people clinging to a rope line to get a photo of him, shake a hand, or have him sign his book.
"I mean his focus on cooperation as a key to moving forward and having economic development is spot on," Christina Surfus of Milwaukee said.
Clinton said a winner-takes-all attitude in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. is counter-productive.
"Cooperation works, constant conflict is a dead bang loser."
MADISON (WKOW) -- Former President Bill Clinton is in Wisconsin to show his support for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett ahead of next Tuesday's recall election.
Clinton and Barrett are at a "Get Out the Vote" rally at Pere Marquette Park in downtown Milwaukee on Friday. The event started at 10:00 a.m.
Clinton would be the third big-name Democrat to appear in Wisconsin in recent days on Barrett's behalf. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley visited the state Thursday. The head of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was in Racine on Wednesday to rally about 100 Democratic volunteers. Wasserman Schultz posted on her twitter account Thursday morning that Clinton was coming to Wisconsin.
A poll released Wednesday by Marquette University Law School shows Gov. Scott Walker with a 7-point lead over Barrett, 52 percent to 45 percent. The poll's margin of error was 4.1 percentage points.