Coverage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia
Heat ADVISORY for most of southeast Wisconsin until 7pm tonight

Gov. Walker, Barrett square off in final debate before election

MILWAUKEE -- Gov. Scott Walker and Milwaukee Mayor and Democratic candidate for governor Tom Barrett went face-to-face for the final time before Tuesday's recall election, in a debate held in Milwaukee Thursday evening, May 31st.

Thursday's debate was in prime time on a day that is traditionally one of the biggest TV watching nights of the week.The debate was broadcast across the state.

Barrett took his campaign to Waukesha Thursday - the heart of Wisconsin's Republican stronghold. He spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for the final face-to-face meeting with Gov. Walker.

"I say let this be a comparison.  If voters really want to have a debate about our records, look at my record of success. Look at what we've done to help the peep of this state create more jobs.  Compare that to the mayor of Milwaukee, where for eight years under his tenure, taxes and fees have gone up 43%," Gov. Walker said Wednesday, May 30th.

Gov. Walker did not make any public appearances Thursday, but his campaign released a new attack ad, questioning Barrett's integrity.

"If we're talking about integrity here, Scott Walker had better be careful because he has had many of his associates, many of his employees charged with felonies.  He's trying to cloud that up, bringing up this false ad, five days before the election," Barrett said.

Gov. Walker's performance in the first gubernatorial debate, held last Friday was criticized as "passive," but Gov. Walker said he would be more aggressive in Thursday night's debate. With the release of his latest ad, Gov. Walker signaled he would make Barrett's record on crime a key issue.

"If he does, I'm going to fire right back at him because if he wants to talk about character, we will talk about character," Barrett said.

A newspaper investigation found the Milwaukee Police Department misreported hundreds of violent crimes, which made it look like the city's crime rate was dropping, when it was increasing. Barrett says it was the result of bureaucratic errors, not an intentional cover up.

"This shows, I think, the sign of desperation from Scott Walker --  that he knows this election is slipping away from him, because while I hired Chief Flynn, who has been a great police chief in this city and has worked to reduce violent crime, he hires people who have now been charged with felonies," Barrett said.

Thursday, Barrett announced former president Bill Clinton will be in Milwaukee Friday, June 1st for a get-out-the-vote rally.

Gov. Walker will campaign with South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

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