President Bill Clinton may be headed to Wisconsin to campaign against Scott Walker ahead of Tuesday’s vote, but he hasn’t always supported recalls.
During the 2003 recall of Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis, Clinton spoke at an African-American church in Los Angeles to try and rally Democratic supporters and spoke critically of the recall process in general not just in the Davis case.
The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel recently dug up Clinton’s old quote:
Clinton said at the time that recalling Davis “will create a circumstance where nobody ever makes a hard decision again.”
“I don’t want you to become a laughingstock, a carnival or the beginning of a circus in America where we just throw people out whenever they make a tough decision,” Clinton told the parishioners. “[A recall] would spread instability and uncertainty among your people and across the country.”
At the time other high-profile Democrats went to California to rally the ultimately unsuccessful bid to prevent Davis’ recall. Even the now embattled John Edwards went on his behalf.
“The last thing in the world that the people of California need is to spend $70 [million] to $100 million on a recall election that could be used for schools, hospitals, to hire police officers and firemen. What we ought to do is put an end to this — end this circus, and send Republicans a clear message on recall day,” Edwards told a crowd of potential recall voters, according to a 2003 CNN article. He was a presidential candidate at the time.