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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT
Governor Walker Survives Recall; Walker's Remarks to Supporters; Pro-Gay Marriage Pastor in Danger of Losing Church
Aired June 5, 2012 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Erin Burnett. And OUTFRONT tonight, we do have breaking news.
CNN projects the Republican governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, survived a recall election today, defeating the mayor of Milwaukee, Tom Barrett, Democrat, in a massively expensive battle that has been widely characterized as a litmus test for the presidential election.
Mitt Romney, right after the verdict came in, released a statement tonight, praising the governor and saying, "Tonight's results will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin."
Now, we're waiting to hear from the governor, Governor Walker will be speaking any moment. When it happens, we're going to bring it to you live. As you can see, a lot of people getting ready there in the Badger State for him to make his appearance.
John King is with me now. John Avlon, Reihan Salam, Jamal Simmons, and Gloria Borger.
All right, let me just start off by asking you something very important here, John Avlon. This whole litmus test for the national election. "Washington Post's" Mark Thiessen wrote something today, talking about just how this vote was going to go. And it did go, as we see now, 73 percent reporting, 56 percent for Walker, 43 percent, Barrett. That means there's significant number of independents in Wisconsin who support both Scott Walker and Barack Obama.
JOHN AVLON, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes.
BURNETT: So what does that mean for November?
AVLON: It -- look, I mean, this is going to have far-reaching policy implications. There's no question. Political implications for November probably will be overstated over the next 72 hours or so. But here's one thing that's clear. Debbie Wasserman Schultz wishes she never said this was a dry run for the general election because this a big win for Scott Walker and a big wake-up call for Democrats.
BURNETT: John -- and John King, you're talking about just how the exit polls really did not give us an indication. Obviously still only 73 percent of the precincts are reporting, but a very big spread in favor of Governor Walker right now.
JOHN KING, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The early -- the exit polls clearly undercounted the Walker vote.
KING: And that's something we'll need to look at. Did Republicans just not want to talk to the people out there with the surveys, did we do something wrong with the statistical model, we'll have to deal with that after. But there's no question -- John mentions the policy implications. There's no question about that. But there are also political implications.
Look, Herman Cain is not the Republican nominee, Rick Perry is not the Republican nominee. Politics change very quickly in this country so don't project anything from tonight to 154 days from now.
But here's one lesson. Yes, the Democrats are going to complain and they already are. They were outspent seven to one. Guess what, the Republican groups that did that are going to say it works. And so if you're a Democratic super PAC out there, you better start trying to raise money. And when you lose it's harder to raise money. When you win it's easier to raise money.
So in the short term, the Republican super PACs are going to say, we proved it, we proved if you give us money, to the big donors, to people who write those checks, that we say, do they belong in our politics? The Republicans can call them back and all those pro- Republican super PACs say --
KING: -- send us more money. People will spend some on ads but they'll spend a lot of it on turnout, Erin, and go county by county by county. Scott Walker overperformed two years ago in an election that was a referendum on him.
BURNETT: That's pretty amazing. And obviously for those of you out there, I mean, the big players we talked about, Sheldon Adelson who supported Newt Gingrich, Foster Friess, have been a big supporter of Santorum, they all were playing in this. So the big money, as John said, was playing.
But Jamal, what about what John Avlon said, that Debbie Wasserman Schultz is going to regret saying this was a dry run for the general? It's a bad sound bit, probably a little blunder, or was it?
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It is a bad sound bite and I think I'm sure the chairwoman would like to take those words back. The reality is most special elections really don't have that much of an impact on a general election, particularly not a presidential, which is a very big deal. A lot of people show up who don't show up normally -- in normal elections.
At the same time, you know, recalls always kind of make me feel a little squeezy, because I feel like we ought to -- elections have consequences. You vote for a person, you know what they're going to do.
SIMMONS: You vote for a right-wing Republican, he's going to implement right-wing policies. You've got to live with that and let's beat him in the next election. I don't like it when they do it to Democrats, I don't like it when they do it to Republicans either.
BURNETT: And, Gloria, what do you think the implications are? I mean especially at this point, we said in the beginning, you know, this whole how the independent vote is going to go in this country. You have a state like Wisconsin where independents, a state that always goes Democrats, obviously a lot of them at this point prefer Barack Obama. But some of those people chose to vote for a more right-wing Republican Scott Walker tonight. So that is what appears to be a conflict.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think you just have to look at this vote and what it was about and say that there's a message here from the voters in the state like Wisconsin of all places, which says that an aggressive brand of conservatism from a governor against public employees is something that they welcome. That they believe there is a lot of bloat in their government. There's a lot of unfairness in their government. And that they wanted it corrected.
And I think this is something the Republican Governors Association put $9 million into this race. That's no coincidence. That this is something other governors are going to look at and they're going to be emboldened by this. They're going to say, you know what, this is something the public approved off in a state like Wisconsin. And it may make sense for us to start doing this.
And if I were Mitt Romney I'd take a look at this message and I'd say this is something I'm going to start talking about on the campaign trail as well.
BURNETT: But Reihan, what's the risk that Mitt Romney does that, embraces it too much and alienates a lot of union voters and a lot of key swing states who may not embrace this message, that he jumps too quickly and too right on it?
REIHAN SALAM, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, look, I mean, these were very particular issues. At the federal level, you don't have the same kind of collective bargaining that you had in a state like Wisconsin. So I think that you can take some broad ideas about reform, reforming the public sector, shrinking the size of government, and I think that those might resonate. But I think that it's not the particular set of issues you saw in Wisconsin.
And one thing I want to say about the spending. There is something we refer to as earned media. That is the free coverage that you get from becoming part of the big event. And for months and months, you had Democrats and labor allies in Wisconsin generating a tremendous amount of earned media around the protests surrounding the state capital. Making their case in a very forceful and aggressive way that their way was the right way. And then later on to try to even the score, you had a lot of folks who are trying to advance a different message, that wait a second, property taxes have fallen in the state. That wait a second, we avoided some of the big layoffs in those areas where mayors and other town officials were able to renegotiate labor contracts.
This was a case in which both sides were a full and frank way able to have a real conversation about the way that state and local government works. And it seems that a lot of voters decided that wait a second, saying that having laws that are more like Virginia or Utah doesn't suddenly mean that Scott Walker is Hosni Mubarak or Osama bin Laden or any of the other people that he was explicitly compared to night after night on TV news.
KING: I think that's a very -- it's a very important point. And I think what we -- what we are learning here is yes, some of these Republican governors have taken dramatic steps, they called them reforms. But if you're going to oppose them you can't just say they're radical right-wing. They want to do something. Every family in America has had to do something about their personal finances three or four years from now.
BURNETT: Right. They have a plan. They have --
KING: They have to do something.
BURNETT: To-do list.
KING: A lot of it was painful. So when their governors are doing things that are painful they're not as opposed to it as they might have been five years ago. So if you're going to oppose that, you better oppose with an alternative, not defending the status quo. If you defend the status quo, you lose.
BURNETT: Right. And John Avlon, it also seems that maybe, and I don't know, this could be taking it too far, but to what John is saying is there a split between the entrenched union management, senior union management and unions across this country and the rank- and-file, who may -- see things differently than the guys who were in the unions?
AVLON: Absolutely. And a profound split you're starting to see between public sector unions and private sector unions. You asked about swing voters, you asked about independents. One of the things this result indicates is that these voters are not necessarily in love with public sector labor unions and the costs they are bringing out of their taxpayer dollars.
So if a governor all of a sudden -- Republican governor stands up to public sector unions, and to balance a budget, to reduce costs, some of those swing voters who might vote Barack Obama on a local level, will say that's a stand we need to take in the name of fiscal responsibility and fiscal discipline. That message can resonate as a reform, rather than an assault on unions or middle class.
BURNETT: And so -- SIMMONS: Erin.
BURNETT: Yes, Jamal, go ahead.
SIMMONS: Erin, I don't think that we can over-interpret these results to mean that Americans have now decided they're against unions or that unions are really the problem about what we faced. I think Americans do think the spending that we're doing needs to be curtailed. As john just said, people have taken -- tough action in their own homes but they also know that we've got to raise more revenue.
And when we do polls people say, you know what, we can't just do this on one side of the ledger and not do it on the others, and the Republicans, if they overreach, and they try to do to this all by pending and going after -- sector unions, I think that they're going to be overreaching. And what Americans want is everything in the pot, let's get some more tax revenue, let's deal with spending, and let's put it all together and fix the problem.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks. We'll only going to hit pause on this. We're going to be back in just a couple of moments. Because we are awaiting Governor Scott Walker to be giving his speech. As you can see people there are waiting for him to come out. It's going to be interesting how far he tries to go in the speech on these union issues. That's coming up in just a couple of moments as we await the governor. We'll be right back.
BURNETT: All right. We are awaiting Governor Scott Walker from Wisconsin. He's going to be speaking just a couple of moments. His challenger, the Milwaukee mayor, Mr. Barrett is speaking right now, giving his concession speech. As you can see, obviously got to be a tough one to make. He fought hard for this. Whatever side you're on, human level, it's tough to lose these things. But it's what makes this country great that we can see, even when it's very painful to do so.
We're going to be taking Governor Walker in just a couple of moments. But in the meantime, I'm here with my panel.
And John King, I just want to ask this question. We were just discussing the commercial break. How amazing it is that Governor Walker won by a larger margin than he won when he ran for governor in 2010. But what is it about the -- right now, if it's going to get tighter, 55/44. Exit polls are showing 50/50. How does that happen?
KING: Well, if there's a number -- number one, sometimes there's a mistake in the data collection. We have a very good people who do this, I assume they've done their job well. But the key part of an exit poll is -- you always have to be cautious about exit polls, and you always -- that's why you always say you want results first to match it up because people vote on exit poll. As they exit, they caught you, interview them. But they volunteer. They select you if you will.
BURNETT: Right. It's not everybody comes by --
KING: A pollster -- a pollster who's calling 500 households in the state or 1500 households around the country, the pollster selects them based on a statistical model. If you're standing outside the polling place with your clipboard, five people come out, two of them might walk over and say yes, three of them might say I don't want to do that. Maybe they're grumpy, maybe they don't trust the media, whatever, maybe they're in a bad, maybe they're late for work.
And so you're not getting a statistically valid sampling, that why you have to filter it through your -- you know, your data base and adjust it. And one way you adjust is when you first get results and that's what we did. And now see.
BURNETT: Yes. Obviously very different.
KING: But what happened, who knows. You know, one theory is Republicans don't trust the media and so they don't want to talk to you. The other part is Barrett voters think they're part of the a revolution. They think they're part of changing the state so they're probably prouder, more eager to be involved in the conversation but that's against on my part.
BURNETT: Right. And maybe in a recall it's different.
But Jamal, I mean, I got to say, do you think was a surprise, you know, to the Obama campaign and other Democrats that were watching? You know, they thought 50/50, close, and now it just doesn't appear it was close at all. And in fact, Governor Walker won by a bigger margin than the first time around when he got the job.
SIMMONS: I think the one group of people this was not a surprise to are the people at the White House, President Obama, which is why you didn't see him in Wisconsin over the course of the last week. That tweet was about all you needed to know that the president's confidence in this election.
So for most Democrats --
BURNETT: You're referring to the tweet last night where he just said, look, I'm rooting for you, Barrett, BO, good-bye. Yes.
SIMMONS: Yes. It was -- yes, it was as tepid of a -- of an endorsement and an effort as you can imagine. But one that I think at least to Democrats that he wasn't completely going to give up. I think Democrats thought -- I was getting a lot of e-mail messages today, people were holding on hope, talking about turnout, talking about some of these long lines in different places.
But you know at the end of the day, labor unions can do a very good job. They can get us 47, 46 percent, you know, almost there. But you really got to also reach out, grab some independents, bring some people across the finish line. And any Democrat who doesn't do it is not going to win. We've seen that time and time again over the course of the last 20 years.
BURNETT: John Avlon, as Jamal was just talking, you just heard -- John King was just mouthing Barack Obama is going to pay for not going there. You think?
KING: He could pay for it. He didn't have their back. If the labor union is a big part of the Democratic base, in a lot of these very close states.
KING: If he didn't have their back, he wouldn't take a risk for them.
KING: Why should they take a risk for him?
AVLON: Well, yes. And that's the argument you heard Reince Priebus actually making earlier on our air, saying they'll remember this, where were you when we needed you? What's fascinating is that Barrett wasn't actually the first choice of many of the labor unions locally in the Democratic primary. They were backing a different candidate.
But there -- this all contributes to the lack of spending. I wonder, you know, the DNC not fully putting all the cash and boots on the ground that perhaps they could. But one of the major factors also driving this whole -- throughout this whole recall, special elections cycle, is that the RNC, from its leader Reince Priebus on down, has a lot of Wisconsinites in its leadership. So for them these are local elections.
BORGER: They're able to deploy national resources, too. And that is a significant advantage when it comes to days like today.
BORGER: Erin, can I just make the point that Mitt Romney didn't exactly show up in Wisconsin either?
SIMMONS: That's right.
BORGER: I think you had these candidates --
BURNETT: Fair point.
BORGER: You had -- you know, you had both of these candidates who quite frankly were not willing to make a solid bet on the outcome and they didn't -- they didn't want to take a risk. I think both of them were cautious. Yes, the Republican national apparatus put an awful lot more money into this. Scott Walker himself was a fund-raising machine and could do that quite easily. But, you know, look, Mitt Romney wasn't there either. Of course now Republicans, Mitt Romney released a statement within a nanosecond saying, you know, this is great for the country, and so goes Wisconsin so goes the rest of the country.
So, you know, it's clear that Mitt Romney, as a result of this, will probably be spending more time in the state of Wisconsin and so will President Obama trying to defend what's natural Democratic turf.
BURNETT: But, Reihan, do you think there'll be some donor fatigue? I mean we're all talking about winners get more money. So it's not that there's going to be fatigue. But will it backfire? I mean is this something where that President Obama could come out and say, look, we don't have as much money, but that's because all the big fat pockets, big fat cats, who are supporting Mitt Romney, and sort of get that resurgence of people who sort of want to fight against big money in politics. Even the super PACs when it's bad.
SALAM: Even before -- even before we had any results, Erin, you had David Axelrod talking about the fundraising advantage on the part of Republicans and other pro-Walker allies in Wisconsin. Not mentioning the enormous fundraising capacity and the cash on hand that the Obama campaign has. But you say that, you complain about the fundraising in order to encourage the almost 90 percent of donors from the 2008 cycle who haven't donated to the Obama campaign this cycle.
They have a real problem with enthusiasm among those voters and it would -- it's very shrewd of them try to get at least some of those folks to get active, to get in this race this time around.
One thing I just want to throw out as well, Erin.
SALAM: Before we talked about the special elections and how they might foretell -- you know, foretell, you know, results in a general election.
SALAM: Harris Wofford won a big election in 1991 in Pennsylvania, a very crucial state against Dick Thornburgh, who was a member of President Bush's Cabinet, and that election was something that, you know, it -- there was no guarantee that it was going to lead to Bill Clinton's victory in 1992. But that was an election that showed that, wait a second, there's something softening about the president's support this time around.
President Bush was the guy who won the Gulf War. He was someone who is very -- you know, someone who is seen as very popular. And that was a sign, an early sign, that wait a second, something has changed here. Now that doesn't necessarily mean that the special election means anything grand or big, but Wisconsin is in the upper Midwest. This is a state that Democrats have fared very well in and they fared extremely well in 2008.
SALAM: And that's the reason why, yes, you've got to do everything you can. Talk about fundraising, talk about -- try to get your base excited, try to get them to think that gosh, these dangerous old Republicans are going to come after us unless we get active and motivated.
SALAM: So this could, in that sense, be advantageous for team Obama.
BURNETT: A Malcolm Gladwell tipping point moment or not? Only know in hindsight, it's always is 20/20.
All right. We're going to take a break. As you can see right there on the screen getting ready for Scott Walker to come out and give his victory speech. Obviously doing the right thing and politely waiting for Mr. Barrett -- Mayor Barrett to finish his concession speech.
We'll be right back.
BURNETT: And we are back. As you can see looking at the podium where Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin will soon come to give his victory speech. CNN has projected him the winner of the recall vote in Wisconsin. A couple of statistics to know, not just the winner but the winner by a margin -- even a bigger margin than he actually won the governorship when he first won back in 2010. That is a pretty strong mandate.
Final results aren't in, but right now we have a winning of about 55 percent to 44 percent for the mayor of Milwaukee, Mayor Barrett. And what's interesting about this is it was seen as sort of a proxy for the power of unions not -- against unions, austerity.
John King, you've actually looked at -- from the exit polls, which by the way were not indicative of how this came out, but who voted by income and it's surprising.
KING: And the exit polls were weighted anti-Walker, if you will, pro- Barrett.
KING: And yet if you look at these numbers, if you look at these numbers, we -- under $30,000, yes, Mayor Barrett, the Democrat, gets 63 percent. You know, almost two-thirds of that vote. But $30,000 to $50,000, $50,000 to $75,000 a year, your union voters, your blue-color voters, your middle class voters, a split among the 30 to 50, 50-49. Barrett getting the 50.
And among those who make between $75,000 and $100,000 a year, it is Governor Walker who wins them, 52 percent to 48 percent. So if you're studying this going forward, key voting bloc, key constituencies, you're talking about middle class, mostly white voters. If you're the Republicans you're looking at that and say that's a building block. What did we do right? How do we build on it between now and November?
BURNETT: Right. An interesting takeaway, John Avlon. You can't just look by income group, and say, well, if you're in a group that should be receptive to the president's message of fairness, you're necessarily going to vote Democrat.
AVLON: No, and it's all about who win the middle class, who connects with moderates and the middle class. And look, even though a referendum, this recall was a reaction to what was perceived to be an overreach, right now Walker and his fellow conservatives are going to say, you know what, that gamble paid off. We're going to continue. Other governors are going to take their -- their queue from this.
And for Democrats it's really a wake-up call. If you thought this election would be a cake walk, think again. And the super PACs are going to be using this to recruit big time. Because they realized they're going to have to.
BURNETT: And, Jamal, what do you take away from that? That the exact income level you would expect, those union families to be the people who would be receptive to Mayor Barrett's message, to Barack Obama's message on taxation, voted Republican. For someone who wanted to cut a lot of the benefits that they had fought hard for. What is the lesson that the president just pragmatically needs to take from that?
SIMMONS: Well, I think the lesson for the president here is if you look at those poll numbers, at least some of the numbers that I just saw, I think about 17 percent of Barack Obama voters voted for Governor Walker. I mean, people are voting for Walker, but they're still saying they'll support the president when it comes time in November.
So maybe this has a lot more to do with local politics, state politics than it has to do with national politics. But I'll tell you, you can learn a lot from a special election. And it's going to be up to the Democrats in the state to really figure out what they did wrong and compensate for that to make sure they've got the kind of ground game and messaging that will work in November.
BURNETT: But, Gloria, it is still amazing, though. And I mean, I know this happens all the time, but just taking a step back, I look at it and say it is amazing that you can have Republican governors of a lot of states that always go Democratic. I mean how does that really happen? I mean how do people get their arms around that?
You always tend to think that most people will vote kind of all one way or all the other. Not so.
BORGER: Well -- well --
BURNETT: Oh, I'm sorry, sorry, Gloria, before you go, it looks like the governor is walking out.
BURNETT: I believe that's his wife and two sons. His wife has been introducing Governor Walker. And --
TONETTE WALKER, GOV. SCOTT WALKER'S WIFE: Welcome, Governor Walker.
BURNETT: Well, you heard his wife say it. And the governor should be walking out. There he is right now. We're going to listen to him give his victory speech as he celebrates with his family there coming up to the podium right now.
The margin of victory was about 75 percent of precincts reporting. It's a victory for Governor Walker, of about 55 to 44 percent. Again that is wider than the margin by which he won the governorship originally back in the year 2010, and not reflective of the exit polls which indicated about a 50/50 split.
So let's see what he says. Here is Governor Walker.
GOV. SCOTT WALKER R-WISCONSIN: Wow, what a crowd.
First of all -- first of all I want to -- I want to thank God for his abundant grace.
WALKER: Next, I particularly want to thank not only you here, but people all across the state. I want to thank you for your prayers, because, for the last year-and-a-half, the thing that has sustained Tonette and I and Matt and Alex so much is not just at campaign events, but literally at factories and farms and small businesses, just about every day over the past year-and-a-half, I've met people at every one of those stops. And what has sustained us is people -- many times, people I've never met before, come off the line, come off the farm and say, governor, we're praying for you and your family.
I can't tell what you what means to me.
WALKER: And speaking of my family, how about keeping Tonette as the first lady of Wisconsin?
WALKER: Tonette has just been a rock. She is so courageous, so strong. I'm so glad, more than 20 years ago, on May 1, 1992, she agreed to have that first date with me and it's been heaven ever since.
WALKER: Together, we're proud to have two sons -- I was going to say boys, but they're not boys anymore -- two sons, Matt and Alex. They've been through a lot this last year-and-a-half. I couldn't be more proud of them. Matt is going to graduate on Saturday. And Alex is going to be a senior. (APPLAUSE)
WALKER: They've just been spectacular.
Tonette mentioned the rest of their fam -- the rest of our family. My mom and dad, I know a lot of you in our victory centers have gotten my mom's chocolate chip cookies. You've got to love those.
My mom and dad; my brother, David; my sister-in-law, Maria; my two beautiful nieces, Isabella and Eva; my father-in-law, Tony; to all my family here and to so many of our long time friends, so many who lifted us up over the last year-and-a-half, even when times were tough, we say thank you for all of them.
UNIDENTIFIED SUPPORTERS: Thank you, Scott.
WALKER: Well, thank you .
SUPPORTERS: Thank you, Scott.
Thank you, Scott.
Thank you, Scott.
WALKER: Thank you.
SUPPORTERS: Thank you, Scott.
Thank you, Scott.
Thank you, Scott.
Thank you, Scott.
WALKER: It's great to see so many kids out here, too, because that's what it's all about, faith, family and freedom.
I want to thank our tremendous lieutenant governor Rebecca Kleefisch.
To Rebecca, to her husband, State Representative Joe Kleefisch, their two beautiful daughters, thank you to them for standing up with us as well for the proud taxpayers of Wisconsin.
And I want to thank my incredible staff, both on the campaign and the cabinet and our capital staff, to all the tremendous volunteers from all across this state. Tonette talked about it, more than 4 million voter contacts, the staff, the volunteers, the supporters, we cannot thank you all enough. Thank you to all of you here.
There's a tent outside with an overflow because we couldn't violate the fire code here, but there are people all over this area and all across the state, on behalf of our family, we say thank you to all of you.
And thanks to all of you and everybody at home watching tonight. Thanks to all the people who yet again entrusted in me your vote as the governor to be the 45th and continue to be the 45th governor of the great state of Wisconsin.
I want to tell you something though, just let me share with you a quick little story. Last fall, Tonette and I had a chance -- I was going to a governors' association meeting. And we had a chance to travel to Philadelphia. And I went to Independence Hall.
As a kid we grew up in a small town where I loved to study history. But my parents, we didn't have a lot of money and so we didn't get to often go to places like Philadelphia or Washington. So me it was the first trip to Independence Hall.
And I got to tell you, I was so touched. I stood in there and I looked at those desks and I looked in those chairs. And even though as a kid growing up, I thought of our founders as superheroes, as bigger than life, standing in that hall, it dawned on me that these were ordinary people.
Ordinary people who did something extraordinary. They didn't just risk their political careers. They didn't just risk their businesses. They literally risked their lives for the freedom we hold so dear today, and the men and women in uniform in this country defend every single day.
Moments like that remind me why America and why Wisconsin are so great. You see, what has made our country unbelievable, what has made the United States of America exceptional, what has made the United States arguably one of the greatest countries in the history of the world is that in times of crisis, either economic or fiscal, be they military or spiritual, in times of crisis what has made America amazing has been the fact that, throughout our history, throughout the more than 200 years of our history, there have been men and women of courage, who have stood up and decided it was more important to look out for the future of their children and their grandchildren than their own political futures.
And what has sustained them -- what has sustained them here in Wisconsin across our country, has been when there have been leaders of courage. What has sustained them is there were good and decent people who stood with them, shoulder to shoulder and arm to arm, that's what you have done for Wisconsin and for America.
Tonight we tell Wisconsin, we tell our country, and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions --
-- but now -- but now it is time to move on and move forward in Wisconsin.
Tomorrow I'll meet with my cabinet in the state's capital, and we'll renew our commitment to help small businesses grow jobs in this state.
We'll renew our commitment to help grow the quality of life for all of our citizens, both those who voted for me and those who voted for someone else. Because tomorrow -- tomorrow is the day after the election. And tomorrow we are now no longer opponents. Tomorrow we are one as Wisconsinites. So together we can move Wisconsin forward.
A few minutes ago I talked to Mayor Tom Barrett. No, no, no. No, no, the election is over. I talked to the mayor, and we had a good talk. And I said I'm committed to working with you to help the city of Milwaukee and to help the state of Wisconsin. Tomorrow the election is over. It's time to move Wisconsin forward.
I've learned much over the last year and a half. There's no doubt about it. You know, early in 2011, I rushed in to try and fix things before I talked about them, because you see, for years, too many politicians I've seen, not only in Madison but in Washington and beyond, talked about things but never fixed them.
Well, but I want to tell you, looking ahead, we know it's under -- it's important to do both, looking ahead to tackle the challenges that face all of the people of Wisconsin.
We're both going to be committed to talking together about how to solve problems and then working together, we're going to move forward with the solutions that put our state back on the right track towards more freedom and more prosperity for all of our people.
Bringing our state together will take some time. There's just no doubt about it. But I want to start out right away. In fact, next week, I'm going to invite all the members of the state legislature, Republican and Democrat alike, and what better way to bring people together than to invite them over for some brats and some burgers, right?
And maybe a little bit of good Wisconsin beer as well.
Because I believe there is more that unites us than divides us. I believe that now the election is done, we can move on and we can move forward.
I believe that, for the sake of our children and our grandchildren, now is the time for us to come together, to tackle the challenges that faced our small businesses, to tackle the challenges that face our families and our businesses and our seniors and all the people who care about the future of this state.
Now is the time to move forward. And I've got to tell you, I'm committed to it. I'm committed not just to all of you here.
I'm committed to everybody back at home, whether you voted for me or not. I'm committed because for me, the most important reason I ran for governor two years ago, the most important reason I was willing to make the tough decisions and the most important reason why I'm committed to work with anyone and everyone in this state who wants to help move this state forward are the two young men standing on the stage back behind me.
I believe -- I believe as I believe people all across this state, you know, we've had amazing numbers of people turn out to vote. But I believe what inspires us in this state is the fact that ultimately we go to work and we work hard every day.
Those who us who are moms and dads, just like Tonette and I and the grandmas and grandpas who did it before us. We go to work and we work hard every single day, not just for a paycheck, not to put food on the table, not just to put clothes on the backs of our kids.
We go to work every single day and we work hard for the same reason you work hard and people all across the state work hard. We work hard because we want our children to inherit a better life, a better home, a better community and thanks to your vote today, a better state than the one we inherited, together, we're going to move Wisconsin forward.
Thank you. God bless you and God bless the great state of Wisconsin.
ERIN BURNETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right. You were listening to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin giving his victory speech. And certainly that appeared to be a hey, look, I know that everyone around the country is watching, I know it's being taken live on CNN as a dry run for a tryout for at least a convention prime time address, John King, maybe even vice president.
JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: He is a national hero in the Republican Party right now. I'm not sure he'd want to be on the ballot again this year. Would you want to be on the ballot again this year? If you are Governor Walker and you just went through that? But this is a very interesting speech. The first half of it was, I'm right, I'm right, I'm right, I won, and this is a national model, look at me. And then the second half was, oh, yes, I have got to get up and be governor tomorrow of a polarized state. So I called the mayor tonight, I'm going to bring in the state legislature, we're going to have brats and beer. The election is over. Let's work together.
BURNETT: Brats and beer.
KING: That's actually a smart craft (ph). He wants to celebrate, but then say he has got to be governor for a while. And it's still a tough state tomorrow.
BURNETT: All right. We're going to debrief exactly what this means and what that speech means. Because obviously that was very strategically done. And what it means for this national referendum that some say we're facing. We'll be back with our panel in just a moment.
BURNETT: And breaking news tonight. CNN can report that Governor Scott Walker has won the recall fierce battle in Wisconsin. Up to $80 million spent on both sides. Exit polls have showed an even split, but that's not the way it appears to be with 88 percent of the precincts reporting. Right now, the margin is nine points in Governor Walker's favor, 54 to 49 percent at this moment. You just heard him give his speech. It was a little bit of a tryout for the national stage, sort of a speech at his headquarters in Wisconsin. Dana Bash was there. There was a lot of celebrating. The big national Republican sort of song playing. And, Dana, what is the mood there? And he was talking about there being so many people there they had to have overflow tents. Was it that crowded?
DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Extremely crowded. Erin, I was covering a lot of the Republican primaries, presidential primaries at the beginning of this year. I saw nothing that compares to this in terms of the size, the scope, the stage craft, and of course the energy. People here have been absolutely riled up. No question about it. And you really felt it. It was palpable here in this room. In fact, you can probably see behind me the governor is wading into the crowd. He is still shaking hands here.
And you heard him sort of calm people down, saying said over. I know you were talking about that, trying to say, you know, we want to not do this anymore, and reach out across the aisle.
It was hard for him to calm people here down. Before he came out, Mayor Barrett was speaking. We took some of it live, I know. People in the crowd here were booing and booing and booing. This is a very, very polarized state. And it certainly -- that particular part of it can be indicative of what happens in November.
BURNETT: Gloria, what's your take on the governor's speech? Was it really a tryout in your view for a national stage, vice presidential stage? What did you hear?
GLORIA BORGER, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, you know, he's on the national stage whether he wants to be or not. And I would gather since he won, he probably would want to be. I don't see him wanting to go through another election, as John said earlier. But I do think that he could be a very effective surrogate for Mitt Romney on the campaign trail. I mean, this wasn't just about collective bargaining. This election started out with the anger of the labor unions about this governor trying to take away public employees' collective bargaining rights, but it devolved into something else. There then became anger on the other side of the ledger, and the discussion sort of shifted, not only from the public employee unions, but it became about jobs, about taxes, about spending, about the role of government in our lives. About what government should and should not be doing for us.
And that's the kind of conversation that Mitt Romney is going to be having in this election against President Obama. So I would have to say that Scott Walker would be kind of in the top tier of surrogates for him to preach that.
BURNETT: Reihan Salam, how do you judge the tryout?
REIHAN SALAM, COLUMNIST, THE DAILY: Well, like Gloria, I don't think he's necessarily angling to be the vice presidential nominee or anything like that. But yes, certainly going forward, if he continues to enjoy some political success, might he consider running for president at some future point? Perhaps. But you also got the sense, and again this could just be my impression, but you also got the sense that here's a guy who ran for governor not just in 2010, he ran in 2006. This is someone who's been thinking about the way government works in Wisconsin for a long time. He was the county executive in Milwaukee County. And in that role, he had to deal with some of the struggles surrounding collective bargaining. He's been thinking very deeply, just as Chris Christie, as someone who had been around New Jersey politics for a very long time, from when he was a young man. And then once you get into that role, once you're actually in a position to do something to move the levers of power, to actually affect change, well, that's a very powerful position to be in, and I think that's actually why he said, look, maybe I didn't talk about this enough, maybe I moved too far, too fast. But it's because he was itching to get something done at the level of Wisconsin. National politics are a very different issue.
BURNETT: Right. Which I have -- when you look at Chris Christie, he's known as a bruiser who tells people what he thinks of them, but he actually was forced to work with people on the other side and get his reforms done. Scott Walker didn't show an ability to work with anybody. That's why we had a recall.
JOHN AVLON, SR. POLITICAL COLUMNIST, NEWSWEEK/THE DAILY BEAST: That's right. I mean, winning a recall is a real vindication. The fact of a recall is a repudiation. I mean, a million people signed the signature, strong disapproval numbers. But right now he's a Republican hero for taking these policy steps.
The real question is can he pursue a further agenda without being so polarizing? You heard in his speech a real focus, today, tomorrow is a new day. I'm having all the members of the legislature over. Don't boo my opponent, Tom Barrett. Move Wisconsin forward, incidentally borrowing Barack Obama's reelection slogan, forward, as well. So there is a real emphasis on we accomplished this, it is a vindication of our policy, but tomorrow he knows he needs to start unifying his state.
BURNETT: All right. Thanks so much to all of you.
And up next, another amazing story from the Midwest. A preacher in Minnesota, he said he's for gay marriage, and, to use John's word, was repudiated by his congregation. It is an incredible story, a man standing up for what he believes in.
We'll be back.
BURNETT: And now the cost of supporting same-sex marriage. A church leader in Minnesota spoke out publicly seven years ago in support of gay couples and their right to marry. It's something he believes in. And this was just after Massachusetts became the first state in the country to legalize gay marriage. Reverend Oliver White never expected what happened after that. He had a predominantly black congregation, and they abandoned him. They didn't agree. And now Reverend White is on the verge of losing his church. So we sent our David Mattingly "outfront" to Minnesota to find out if the reverend regrets what he said.
DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Grace Community United Church of Christ in St. Paul Minnesota has seen better days, the empty pews signs of a congregation shattered by a single issue.
REV. OLIVER WHITE, GRACE COMMUNITY UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST: Categorically they said I cannot be a part of a church that accepts same-sex marriage.
MATTINGLY: Reverend Oliver White voted in favor of accepting same sex marriage at the 2005 national meeting of the United Church of Christ. The vote was historic, the fallout immediate. White lost two-thirds of his predominantly African-American congregation.
WHITE: They thought I was a heretic, that I was not leading them to Christ.
MATTINGLY: Seven years later, White's congregation still has not come back. I was invited to watch what could be the last service before the church closes its doors for good. What I saw was a far cry from the days when the seats were full.
(on camera): When services started just a few minutes ago, there were only about 20 people in the pews. A few people have come in since then, but more than half of the people attending today are visitors.
(voice-over): The church is now in financial ruin. The few members that still remain say they couldn't overcome a stigma.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is hush, hush you don't talk about it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you are gay, you are wrong, and it is very much, very prevalent in the black church that you do not talk about it.
MATTINGLY (on camera): You pray about this a lot?
WHITE: Every day.
MATTINGLY: What do you pray for right now?
WHITE: Two hundred thousand dollars.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Two hundred thousand dollars, that's what White says will keep his church afloat, but he has just a few days left to raise it.
WHITE: Two dollars.
MATTINGLY (on camera): Two dollars.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Little miracles arrive in the mail every day, donations along with words of encouragement and at times temptation.
MATTINGLY (on camera): This man was going to pay all of your bills.
MATTINGLY: All your worries will be gone.
WHITE: All my worries will be gone.
MATTINGLY: All you had to do was what?
WHITE: Renounce, renounce what I have been saying and come back to God, as he said.
MATTINGLY: Did you think about it?
WHITE: Well, maybe for one-tenth of a second.
MATTINGLY (voice-over): Better to be a heretic in the eyes of many of his fellow Christians than, he says, to preach what he believes is a lie. David Mattingly, CNN, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
BURNETT: Pretty amazing story. What would you have done if you were given that choice? Well, thanks so much for watching. "PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" starts right after this break.