MILWAUKEE, WI -- Just days before Wisconsin's gubernatorial recall, former President Bill Clinton drew a crowd of nearly 2,000 attendees here as he campaigned for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) in his contest against Gov. Scott Walker (R).
“Ordinarily, I’m against recall elections,” Clinton told the crowd. “But sometimes it is the only way, to avoid a disastrous course."
Clinton's visit comes on the heels of a recent Marquette Law School poll, which showed Walker leading Barrett by seven points among likely voters, 52%-45%. Democrats argue that their internal polling shows a much closer contest -- one that they say will be determined by turnout.
That explains Clinton’s visit here, which was only announced yesterday.
In brief remarks with NBC News after his speech, Clinton said President Obama was “glad” the former president was campaigning with Barrett.
“A lot of people encouraged me to come, including the White House,” Clinton told NBC News. “But, I didn’t talk to him [Obama] until yesterday when I had already accepted” the speaking invitation. But he was “glad I was going.”
The two-term former president, who noted he won the state of Wisconsin during both of his elections, also told NBC that the recall could have implications on November’s presidential election.
“If Tom Barrett wins, I think it will because it’ll show that people favor cooperation over conflict and that’s really what the American people have to say," he said. "This is not about liberal/conservative, Republican/Democrat anymore. It's about whether you want constant conflict and winner take all or creative cooperation.
“What’s working in America -- the places that are back are places that are working together.”
In his speech here, Clinton even opened with a little joke, just a day after he praised GOP nominee Mitt Romney’s work at Bain -- and taking some heat from Democrats for being off message.
“The great thing about not being president is you can say whatever you want. Nobody has to care anymore, but you can say it,” he said.
While Clinton campaigned with Barrett, Republican South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) is stumping with Walker.