There's no question that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who is trailing in the most recent polls, came out swinging against Gov. Scott Walker in a televised debate Friday night.
But whether he landed enough punches to sway enough voters in the June 5 recall election remains to be seen.
During the debate, sponsored by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association, Democrat Barrett went after the Republican governor on a variety of issues, The Huffington Post reported.
According to a story by Amanda Terkel:
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett aggressively went after Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the first of two gubernatorial debates, taking him to task for an ongoing corruption probe, repeal of an equal pay enforcement law and out-of-state fundraising. Walker largely stuck to his talking points, spending more time going after unions than directly attacking Barrett, and telling viewers that the way to heal the polarized state was to re-elect him on June 5 and move beyond the recalls.
"This is not a rematch or a do-over," said Barrett, referring to his unsuccessful race against Walker in the 2010 gubernatorial election. "We cannot do-over the decision of Scott Walker to start a political civil war, which resulted in this state losing more jobs than any other state in the entire country in 2011.
Walker — who holds — fired a few shots of his own as well, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Walker noted that unemployment and taxes went up during Barrett's time as mayor.
According to the Journal Sentinel:
Walker said Barrett hasn't said enough about what tough choices he would have made to balance the state budget and what choices he would make going forward in the next budget.
"We don't really know what Barrett's going to do," Walker said. "He hasn't told the voters. He doesn't have a plan."
After the debate, both the Walker and Barrett campaigns wasted no time in declaring their candidate the winner.
"Tom Barrett won the first general election debate against Scott Walker in overwhelming fashion by focusing the discussion on critical issues of jobs, honesty, trust and the people of Wisconsin," the Barrett campaign said in a statement Friday night. "The debate drew a strong distinction between their approaches to leadership."
In a press release sent out less than five minutes after the debate ended, the Walker campaign said:
Governor Scott Walker delivered an exceptional debate performance this evening, handily defeating Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in the first of two televised debates ahead of the June 5 recall election.
“Governor Walker showed Wisconsin voters tonight why he is the best choice to move Wisconsin forward,” said Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews. “Governor Walker’s reforms transformed a $3.6 billion budget deficit into a $154 million surplus, saved taxpayers over $1 billion, and helped Wisconsin employers create over 35,000 jobs. Mayor Barrett knows the truth is on our side, which is why he is resorting to angry and desperate tactics to distract voters and hide from his failed record as Milwaukee’s mayor.”
Both sides also sent reporters a myriad of "Fact Check" press releases throughout the debate in which they pointed our "misstatements" made by the opposing candidate. The state Republican Party emailed the media at least 10 such press releases during the one-hour debate.