"TIME" magazine's Joe Klein, who has been covering news and politics for 42 years, looks at what the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall race could mean for the presidential race, and shares what he has learned on his cross-country road trip across across the U.S. Hint: Americans are tired of divisiveness.
A big win for Republican Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. He defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in an expensive recall election which was wildly characterized as a litmus test for the presidential election.
This morning on "Starting Point," Governor Bob McDonnell (R-Va) lists the three reasons Walker won the recall, and explains how he thinks the vote is a sign that Wisconsin could be up for grabs in the November presidential election.
Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin defeated his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in the state's recall election last night. Walker's win is a serious loss for big labor, and for Democrats, too. It also means that Wisconsin could become a crucial battleground state come the presidential election in November.
Now, Walker becomes the first U.S. governor to survive a recall. North Dakota kicked out its governor, Lynn Frazier. That was back in 1921. California removed Gray Davis in 2003.
Last night, Walker's victory speech delivered a message not only to Wisconsin but also to the nation.
"Tonight, we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country, and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions," Walker says.
However the moment of the night came from the Barrett camp, when a supporter literally slapped the mayor across the face because he conceded before all the voters even finished going to the polls.
State Senator Jon Erpenbach (D-Wis.) spoke at Barrett's concession speech and says though Republicans may be ready for a victory lap, in fact the recall's implications for November are far from clear.
"Feelings in Wisconsin for the past year and a half have been very, very strongly passionate on both sides," Erpenbach says. "Emotions tend to run high in situations like that. Obviously, it was a tough night for Democrats. But at the same time, Wisconsin Democrats in the state senate picked up a seat, so we have control in the state senate. So it's mixed messages last night. But there's no doubt, Soledad, the passion is very, very strong in Wisconsin on either side."
Former State Senator Dan Kapanke (R-Wis.) on his support for Gov. Scott Walker and the importance of the recall.
Polls are open in Wisconsin for an election some say is a 'dry run' for the November presidential vote.
It's an effort to recall Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker and replace him with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is a Democrat. It's also one of the most expensive recall elections in American history.
The recall was sparked by Walker's efforts to curtail union rights and benefits. If the recall is successful, it will be only the third time that a governor has been kicked out by voters.
Tom Barrett talks with Soledad this morning on "Starting Point" to explain the importance of today's recall vote and why he thinks he will win today's race.
“So [Walker] set out on a strategy to divide this state," Barrett says. "He succeeded in dividing the state. This state has never been divided as it is right now. So Wisconsin historically, traditionally, has not been this polarized state."
Barrett adds, "I think the cause is to get rid of the instigator rather than to allow him to continue because I think this state will remain this bitterly divided if he continues in office. I don't see how Wisconsin can move forward if he continues with the style that he's had for the last year and a half.”