If Wisconsin's embattled GOP Gov. Scott Walker manages to score a victory in today's recall election, Republicans likely won't let President Obama forget his final words of support for Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
Though Obama has not set foot in the state to campaign with Barrett - even though he's been crisscrossing the country in recent weeks holding events and fundraisers - the president wished the Democrat good luck last night. He did so in a tweet.
@BarackObama : It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow, and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. -bo
To which Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, a native son of the Badger State, replied:
First there's the voting, which will be over by 9 p.m. tonight (although a final verdict on the Walker-Barrett contest may take longer if the race ends up being as close as it has looked in recent polls). Then, depending on the outcome, there's the debate over what it all means.
If Walker wins, Democrats will be eager to say that the race, which saw spending of more than $60 million, has little bearing on what happens on Nov. 6, 2012. They'll also note that Walker faces a bevy of challenges in the state even if Wisconsin voters decide to keep him. Depending on the fate of four GOP state senators who are also up for a vote on Tuesday, the governor could have an even more hostile legislative climate to contend with.
Republicans, on the other hand, would love nothing more than to make a victory here a springboard to the fall. Whatever happens, the GOP is already convinced that they have used these months to lay the groundwork to turn Wisconsin into a hard-fought battleground where they believe they now have an edge in grassroots organizing.
And ABC News' Amy Walter reviews four reasons why Wisconsin matters:
-Today's election serves as a preview of the polarized environment that the presidential candidates will face in swing states this November. Despite the heavy spending, there are very few undecided voters in Wisconsin. Forget about moving swing voters, 2012 is going to be about getting your base to the polls.
-A Walker win would be a shot in the arm for GOP in traditionally blue territory. Team Romney has made it clear that a win by Walker puts this state in play for the fall. Even Democrats concede that a loss by Barrett will have a dampening effect on enthusiasm.
-A win by Walker will also raise his national political profile. A guy who beat labor - in a pro- labor state - will be feted as a hero by national conservatives. In an interview with Fox News yesterday, he even had to fend off questions about whether he would want to be Mitt Romney's vice presidential nominee.
-The vote in Wisconsin is also a referendum on the overall political influence of the labor movement. Look for labor to push back on the conclusion that their influence is waning by noting that they successfully defeated a similar measure on collective bargaining on the Ohio ballot last fall.
TAKE NOTE: Recalling the governor of a state is tough. Only two Governors have been successfully recalled: Gray Davis of California (2003) and Lynn Frazier of North Dakota (1921).
ABC's RICK KLEIN: As both sides try to spin the stakes in Wisconsin, recall how it came to be. Democrats and their allies invited national implications by sparking just the third gubernatorial recall in U.S. history; Republicans have built up the stakes by taking an early couple of victory laps. Judging by surrogate visits, GOP leaders have been more eager to embrace what's going on in the Badger State than Democrats (though both Obama and Romney stayed away). The fact remains that no actual voting contest will tell us more about the mood and energy of the electorate until the big one in November.
ABC's AMY WALTER: Why should voters in Florida, Ohio, Virginia care about what happens in Wisconsin? It is preview of what they can expect this fall. A polarized electorate with increasingly hardened views on the two candidates means that millions and millions of dollars will be spent bombarding the airwaves to move just a handful of true swing voters. The era of "wave" elections that we've had since 2006, where one side or the other had all the momentum on their side and could simply ride the wave to victory, is over. Wisconsin will ring in the "new normal" of campaign 2012 - a long, hard slog for each and every vote.
"GOOD MORNING AMERICA" REWIND: Bill O'Reilly Accuses Obama, Clinton of 'Guerrilla Theater' WATCH: http://abcn.ws/L7ZhDd
FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN: ABC's Devin Dwyer reports that the latest Obama campaign web video features deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter addressing claims by the Romney camp that the average job growth rate in Massachusetts between 02-06 (1.4%/ 47th in the country) paints an unfair/inaccurate picture of what Romney did as governor. The Romney team says he inherited a mess - came in on a downturn - and reversed losses to gains with upward momentum. Meanwhile, the Obama camp says that's the same argument they're making about Obama. WATCH: http://bit.ly/KJarkW
FROM THE ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: "Romney for President released a new web video, 'Dismal.' The Obama campaign recently released a Spanish-language web ad asserting that 'we're on the right path.' Mitt Romney disagrees and believes that rising unemployment and more Hispanics in poverty is not the 'right path' for our country. America can do better and, with Mitt Romney as president, we will." A Romney campaign official tells The Note: "We see a major opportunity to make inroads with Hispanics after the release of last week's jobs report that shows unemployment for Hispanics rising." WATCH: http://mi.tt/Lr9XNT
REPUBLICANS SEEING RED ON OBAMA'S GREEN JOBS INITIATIVES. ABC's Shushannah Walshe reports that the RNC is out with a new push this morning featuring a lengthy research piece trying to link President Obama's senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and therefore the president with clean energy companies that failed or suffered after being bolstered or aided by the administration. The piece ties Jarrett to "clean energy summit" in 2009 and says "collectively, companies tied to the attendees at the meeting received over $5.3 billion in stimulus leans, grants, tax credits and contracts." It's all in an effort to make the memories of Solyndra (last week's RNC and Romney campaign message) not go away too soon and continue to remind voters of the hundreds of millions of dollars the company received from the government for its failed attempts. http://bit.ly/K9M9md
WISCONSIN RECALL RUNDOWN
RECALL TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT. From ABC's Matthew Jaffe: Viewed as a test of how far politicians can go to fight special interests during a time of widespread budget problems, the Walker recall fight has drawn the national spotlight - especially since Wisconsin is a key state in the race for the Oval Office. … Republican governors like Chris Christie of New Jersey, Nikki Haley of South Carolina, and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have all visited the Badger State to boost Walker's chances, but Barrett received some help of his own last Friday when a bigger political star than any of the GOP politicians came to Milwaukee on his behalf: former President Bill Clinton, who told voters that they faced a choice between "people who want to work together to solve problems and people who want to divide and conquer." http://abcn.ws/Ll9xqo
NO OBAMA OR ROMNEY, BUT LOTS OF CASH. More from ABC's Matthew Jaffe: While the recall election may foreshadow what lies ahead this fall when Obama and Romney duke it out, neither of them came to Wisconsin to support Barrett or Walker. … Although Obama and Romney stayed away from Wisconsin, money has poured in from across the country. A whopping $62 million has been spent on the race, with most of it coming from outside the state. http://abcn.ws/Ll9xqo
CONTROL OF THE STATE SENATE AT STAKE. ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield explains: In addition to the governorship, Democrats are hoping to flip control of Wisconsin's state Senate on Tuesday. Walker is not the only incumbent on the ballot. Four Republican state senators also face recall, plus Walker's Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch. Wisconsin's 33 member Senate is evenly split, with 16 representatives from both parties and one vacancy. The results of Tuesday's election will likely flip control to one party. http://abcn.ws/NDhpHF
RECALL HISTORY IN THE MAKING. From the Wisconsin State Journal and the Associated Press: "Regardless of the outcome, Wisconsin voters will make history today. Either Gov. Scott Walker will become only the third governor in U.S. history to be removed from office before his term is up, or he'll be the first to survive such a challenge. The vote, a rematch of Walker's 2010 race against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, is widely viewed as one of the most significant contests nationally this year outside of the presidential race." http://bit.ly/KJrp2s
PRESSURE THY NEIGHBOR. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Meg Jones reports on a slew of mailers: "Corrine Greuling worried about her safety. Viola Miller wondered if it could be used to steal her vote. They and others got upset after the Greater Wisconsin Political Fund mailed fliers over the weekend listing people's names, addresses and whether they voted in the November 2008 and 2010 elections, as well as the same information for a dozen of their neighbors. 'What am I supposed to do? Go shame my neighbor? Whether my neighbor voted or not is none of my business,' said [Jane] Boutan, who lives in Milwaukee's Sherman Park neighborhood. The fliers arrived in mailboxes over the weekend. The Greater Wisconsin Political Fund, which is affiliated with the Greater Wisconsin Committee, is a liberal group that has run ads against Republican Gov. Scott Walker to help Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in Tuesday's recall election." http://bit.ly/Ltai2P
WALKER AND BARRETT ON THEIR CHANCES. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Patrick Marley, Bill Glauber and Don Walker report: "'We're cautiously optimistic,' [Walker] told reporters after touring a plastics manufacturer in Fitchburg. 'We're not overconfident. . . . We want to make sure we get our voters out and make as many last-minute appeals to undecided voters that if they want to move on, if they want to go forward, we're the candidate.' Barrett said after greeting cheering volunteers at a Democratic Party office in Portage that he believes the race is 'dead even.' 'This race is going to be totally determined by who comes to vote,' he said. 'That's what's going to happen.' He said the atmosphere surrounding the campaign felt completely different from 2010, when he lost to Walker in the governor's race. 'It's Venus and Mars. It's different because there are people this time. Last time it was totally dead,' Barrett said." http://bit.ly/K8NQ3m
THE FINAL PUSH. More from the Journal-Sentinel's Marley, Glauber, and Walker: "Barrett and Walker both tried to hit all corners of the state Monday after crisscrossing Wisconsin over the weekend. On Monday, Barrett visited La Crosse, River Falls, Rhinelander and Portage. … Walker toured businesses in Fitchburg, West Salem, Eau Claire, Stevens Point and Ashwaubenon before finishing the night with a late-night rally at American Serb Hall in Milwaukee." http://bit.ly/ K8NQ3m
RUNNING THE NUMBERS: WHO WILL WIN? The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's Craig Gilbert breaks down trends in the electorate: "Democrats won big in 2006 and 2008. Republicans won big in 2010. In the first two cases, Democratic voters outnumbered Republican voters by four and six percentage points, according to exit polls. But in the 2010 election, that Democratic edge was down to just one point … the 2010 electorate that swept Republicans into power was the most conservative in Wisconsin in many years, according to exit polls … What do the 2012 polls have to say on this subject? Most statewide surveys this year have captured a very conservative mix of voters - even more conservative than the 2010 electorate in Wisconsin. Either those polls are true barometers of conservative intensity and are accurately predicting the rightward tilt of the vote Tuesday - or they're oversampling conservatives and overstating Gov. Walker's lead." http://bit.ly/Ktwj5L
VIDEO: WALKER ON OBAMA, HIS DEMOCRATIC BACKERS. The recalled governor sat down with Fox's Neil Cavuto. Walker said: "A lot of the reason why you've seen some of the national Democrats backing away, is because as people have gotten the truth, as they have seen the facts out there, they realize that, wait a minute, this is not what people told us it would be, there was a lot of misguided anger to begin with … [on Obama's absence from the recall campaign trail] I think it's a sign that there's real concern of what I've seen over the weekend, which are voters who tell me they voted for my opponent, or they tell me they're Democrats, but in each case they tell me they're voting for me, now, either because they liked the courage to take on the tough problems, or a number of them who are democrats tell me they don't like the recall process. My guess is the president and his folks just want to shy away from that." http://bit.ly/McgYV5 http://bit.ly/LkYy4j
INTRADE LOVES WALKER. Shares of Walker-to-Win are pricing out at $9.37 on the betting/trading market Intrade.com, indicating its bettors are collectively giving walker a 93.7 percent chance of victory (as of 8 a.m. Tuesday). http://bit.ly/HMaL2v
EXPECTATIONS: DEMOCRATIC DAMAGE CONTROL. The Hill's Emily Goodin reports: "Democrats and union activists were playing damage control Monday ahead of the recall election of Wisconsin's Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is widely expected to prevail. Publicly, union officials and Democrats expressed confidence Walker would be defeated by Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) despite polls showing Walker with an edge. But in private, a number of Democrats and labor activists were already trying to put the best spin possible on a loss - even as some pointed fingers over who would be to blame for a defeat. Some union officials and activists partly blamed President Obama for refusing to help in what they still saw as a winnable race, while some Democratic insiders quietly complained that the race was always an uphill battle. One union official involved in the race argued that even if Walker won on Tuesday, he was so wounded from the recall that he will be rendered ineffective for the remainder of his term." http://bit.ly/K8FuIU
REPEALING WALKER'S REFORMS: A HIGH BAR FOR DEMOCRATS. The Weekly Standard's John McCormack explains: "For Democrats to have any hope of undoing Scott Walker's reforms, they'll need to win both houses of the legislature and the governor's seat. If senate Democrats refuse to pass a budget, it will simply lead to a 'permanent Scott Walker budget,' as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett has acknowledged. 'Wisconsin is different from the federal government and Minnesota and other states,' Barrett said in April. 'If there is no budget, we will have a permanent Scott Walker budget.'" http://bit.ly/yfr0ti
DEMS PREP FOR RECOUNT. Politico's Robin Bravender reports: "Brace yourself: Wisconsin Democrats say they are preparing for the event that the hotly contested recall race could drag on for weeks, or even longer. … Walker can't seem to break his 50 percent ceiling of support among Wisconsin voters. His ballot support has hovered at either 50 percent or 49 percent in 12 of the 14 polls released since early May, and recent polls show the race tightening in the final stretch. 'We're very much anticipating that there's a chance that we could be in a recount scenario,' said Mike Tate, chairman of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin. He said the party will have more than 440 lawyers in the field on Tuesday 'doing election protection activities but also tasked with recount preparation, making sure that we know where absentee ballots are at, making sure that we have a strong handle on what's happening out there.'" http://politi.co/Ll4pqe
VIDEO OF THE DAY: IS THE GOP READY FOR ITS OWN GAY CANDIDATE? ABC's Jonathan Karl talks with Richard Tisei, who is pro-choice, in favor of gay marriage, openly gay-and one of the GOP's top-tiered congressional candidates for 2012. Asked whether a President Romney could evolve on gay marriage, Tisei said: "I think the country as a whole is. I mean everybody knows gay people now… and it's really broken down barriers and given people the chance to interact. I think most Americans are fair, and they understand that, um, everybody should be treated equally under the law, and we shouldn't discriminate against anyone, and I do think that as time goes on that will be the majority view in this country." WATCH: http://yhoo.it/Ll73rP
with ABC's Chris Good ( @c_good)
MORE RACES TO WATCH. ABC's Elizabeth Hartfield on other races happening today across the country: Reps. Bill Pascrell and Steve Rothman are fighting for their political lives in New Jersey's 9th Congressional District, where redistricting has redrawn the map for both Democrats. Rothman endorsed Obama in 2008, and while Obama has not publicly endorsed Rothman, he did meet with him privately at the White House last week. Pascrell endorsed Hillary Clinton, and this cycle Bill Clinton has returned the favor, endorsing Pascrell and campaigning on his behalf. … California is associated in the cultural zeitgeist as a land of healthy living, but the state hasn't raised its cigarette tax in more than a decade. That could change Tuesday as voters cast ballots on Proposition 29, a statewide initiative to add a $1 a pack tax to cigarettes, the proceeds of which would go to fund cancer research. http://abcn.ws/NDhpHF
FROM HOPE TO FEAR. ABC's Devin Dwyer reports on the latest anti-Obama GOP talking point: A provocative new web video from pro-Republican super PAC American Crossroads highlights what is emerging as a top talking-point in the case against President Obama. The video, titled "Fear," juxtaposes excerpts of Obama's widely-praised speech on national unity after the Tuscon shootings in 2011 - and his 2008 pledge to be a post-partisan president - with what Republicans see as his divisive rhetoric of class warfare today. http://abcn.ws/NcZWrU
OBAMA DOES BROADWAY: WILL IT MATTER? ABC's Shushannah Walshe on the president's NYC fundraising and hobnobbing: At a time of high unemployment and economic uncertainty, does a presidential candidate friending and fundraising with the rich and famous matter to average voters? Republicans think so. And Democrats do, too. Both sides in the presidential election campaign are increasingly eager to lambaste the other's fundraising habits as insensitive to the plight of economically struggling Americans. The GOP went on a tear today to portray President Obama as grossly out of touch for hobnobbing with Hollywood and financial sector elites at a series of planned fundraisers, including three events in New York City tonight. Several critics also include the Obama campaign's sweepstakes through which low-dollar donors can win a chance to attend. http://abcn.ws/LguMz2
OBAMA AND CLINTON ON THE STUMP. More on Obama's NYC fundraising, from ABC's Devin Dwyer: Sharing the stage at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Manhattan, presidents 42 and 44 offered a robust defense of Obama's handling of the economy and vision for the future, asserting more forcefully than they've done elsewhere in recent weeks that more short-term government spending is needed to boost hiring while insisting Republicans have been blockading the effort all along. "If you do not have economic growth, no amount of austerity will balance the budget because you will always have revenues go down more than you can possibly cut spending," Clinton told the crowd of Republican budget plans. http://abcn.ws/KZoAZM
CLINTON: PRESIDENT ROMNEY WOULD BE 'CALAMITOUS.' More on Obama and Clinton in NYC, from ABC's Mary Bruce: Bill Clinton warned top donors in New York tonight that Mitt Romney would be "calamitous for our country and the world." "The politics is wrong on the Republican side, the economics are crazy," Clinton said at a fundraiser at the Upper East Side home of billionaire hedge fund manager Marc Lasry. Just one week after praising Mitt Romney's "sterling business career," Clinton argued that Republicans' "economics are wrong-headed and their politics are worse." http://abcn.ws/M8Ftz0
BARACK, CALL ME, MAYBE? BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller points us toward a mashup in which the president sings "Call Me Maybe." WATCH: http://bit.ly/Lhb9ah
ROMNEY'S OWN SOLYNDRA? Bloomberg's Jim Snyder reports: "Republican Mitt Romney, who criticized President Barack Obama last week for backing failed Solyndra LLC, supported as governor of Massachusetts a different solar-power company that has gone out of business. Konarka Technologies Inc. filed to liquidate on June 1 after getting state and U.S. aid, a development that may muddy his attempts to use Solyndra to try to show Obama's broader economic failures, a professor said. … Romney gave Konarka of Lowell, Massachusetts, a $1.5 million loan, part of $9 million in state financing to clean- energy companies. Romney also announced that a restructured green fund would provide $15 million in support for renewable energy in the state. Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney's campaign, said on in an e-mail yesterday that the subsidies were approved by a Massachusetts board before Romney became governor." http://bloom.bg/Nd1Ngp
'SLUTS' UNITE FOR 2012. ABC's Amy Bingham on even more Rush Limbaugh backlash: Women's rights activists are banding together to "Rock the Slut Vote" in an online effort to register women to vote and cast their ballots against Republicans in 2012. "If the GOP thinks that throwing the word 'slut' at us at this point is going to silence women they have another thing coming," said Susan McMillan Emry, the site's founder. Taking a vein from comedian Jeff Foxworthy and his "You might be a Redneck if…" jokes, Emry's website gives visitors 22 reasons why "You might be a slut," including "if you've ever used contraception" or "if you're still downloading Dixie Chicks music" or "if you don't go to church." http://abcn.ws/MwJK5G
CALIFORNIA MALAISE. McClatchy's David Siders on the latest Field poll turnout predictions: "Voter turnout for today's election will likely set a record low for a presidential primary in California, with just 35 percent of registered voters casting ballots, according to the Field Poll. The estimate reflects the state's insignificance to the Republican presidential nominating contest, which was settled long ago, and to a dearth of competitive, high-interest races statewide. 'There's really no comparison," poll director Mark DiCamillo said. "We've never had a turnout at this level before for a presidential primary in California.'" http://bit.ly/KdoAEr
OBAMA CAMPAIGN: NO LETTING UP ON BAIN. USA Today's Aamer Madhani reports: "'The issue remains: Did his experience at Bain qualify him as a job creator,' said campaign strategist David Axelrod in a call with reporters. 'He made that case 10 years ago (when he was running for governor) in Massachusetts and the record there was very, very underwhelming.' Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt contends the Bain attacks are resonating with voters, noting that a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll showed that registered voters by a 2-to-1 margin viewed Bain negatively. And while high-profile Democrats, including Newark Mayor Cory Booker and former president Bill Clinton, have sent mixed messages about Bain and private equity, LaBolt says there's 'a very different conversation in battleground states than there is among elites in the Northeast corridor.'" http://usat.ly/M8uLMX
VEEP BEAT: Our daily look at all the action on the veepstakes front, brought to you by ABC's Arlette Saenz ( @ArletteSaenz ):
RYAN STUMPS FOR ROMNEY IN NORTH CAROLINA: While his state is engaged in a recall election today, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will fly solo today in Raleigh, North Carolina this morning when he holds hold a roundtable at Big Ed's City Market on behalf of Mitt Romney, who will campaign in Texas today. Ryan and Romney tag teamed Wisconsin in early April when the duo criss-crossed the state campaigning together. Later in the evening, Ryan will headline a dinner held by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C.
WALKER DOESN'T WANT VP SPOT, SUGGESTS RYAN FOR THE JOB: In an interview with FOX News' Neil Cavuto, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he wasn't interested in the VP spot and offered his pick for the job - Paul Ryan, ABC News' Michael Falcone reports. "I'm not going through a year and a half of this to then take off. I have to fulfill my commitment to the voters of the state of Wisconsin," Walker said Monday. "On the VP side, if Mitt Romney were to ask me who would be a good pick from Wisconsin, I would say my friend Paul Ryan would be at the top of the list. He would do an exceptional job."
PORTMAN VISITS TROOPS IN AFGHANISTAN: After a three day tour through Israel last week, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, visited troops in Afghanistan for two "very productive" days, which include meeting with Green Berets training local police just 30 miles from Pakistan and ate meals with Marines from Ohio and the Ohio National Guardsmen at Bagram Air Base, the Toledo Blade reported. http://bit.ly/LuFqyw
REPORT: RUBIO CHIEF OF STAFF TIED TO LOBBY FIRM: A report by Republic Report Monday found that Rubio's chief of staff, Cesar Conda, maintains financial ties to a corporate lobbying firm he founded called Navigators Global. Conda left the group in January of 2011, but A review of Conda's personal financial disclosure forms showed he received $50,000 to $100,000 in payments since joining Rubio's office. A spokesman for Rubio told the Republic Report that the arrangement between Conda and his lobbying form was "cleared by Senate Ethics back in 2011." "Cesar had a stock buy out of his ownership units when he left, which is being paid out over time," Alex Conant, press secretary for Rubio, wrote to the Republic Report. http://bit.ly/Mx6aDU
@markknoller : The president's tweet came hours after Jay Carney faced questions about the president distancing himself from the Wisconsin vote today.
-Wisconsin voters hit the polls in today's recall election to decide between Republican Governor Scott Walker or his Democratic rival Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett
-Mitt Romney will hold a campaign event at an office supply store in Fort Worth, Texas, followed by a fundraiser in Dallas.
-Vice President Joe Biden will attend an evening event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in Alexandria, VA
-President Barack Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
-Paul Ryan will campaign solo for Mitt Romney by holding a roundtable in Raleigh, NC. He will also deliver the keynote address at the CEI 2012 Gala and Dinner in Washington D.C.
ABC's Joanna Suarez
Check out The Note's Futures Calendar: http://abcn.ws/ZI9gV