The recent Gubernatorial recall election in Wisconsin brought out more than a few raw emotions. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett knew that he had lost and announced his decision to concede. One voter wasn’t happy at all with that decision and let him know it with a slap to the face. To his credit, Barrett is a seasoned enough politician to understand that moment of peril. Instead of reacting in any form that might have been taken as a negative and damaging to his image, Barrett took the slap and never lost his stride. Of course, had it been something much more physical a more protective reaction would have been proper. But in this case, Barrett understood his audience, their passions, the heat of the moment, and the fact TV cameras and still photogs were surrounding him. He reacted with great restraint and provides a lesson for anyone working in the public eye.
Barrett Slapped In Face After Conceding Recall To Walker
MILWAUKEE – It must have stung for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to call Gov. Scott Walker and concede defeat Tuesday night, but not nearly as much as the slap he got from a supporter angry over his concession speech.
Shortly after 10 p.m. local time, Barrett took the stage at his election night rally in downtown Milwaukee. By then, networks had projected Walker as the winner of the recall race.
“I just got off the phone with Gov. Walker and congratulated him on his victory tonight,” Barrett said, prompting boos from the crowd. “We agreed that it is important for us to work together.”
“No!” shouted the crowd.
Afterwards, as Barrett greeted his supporters, a woman approached him and reportedly asked, “Can I slap you?” Barrett replied that he would prefer that she hugged him, so he leaned down, anticipating a hug but instead got the slap that she had requested. In the video of the incident, Barrett’s head jerks back from the slap.
No one reacts very strongly to the slap and Barrett continued on greeting his disappointed supporters.
The woman, who was immediately identified, was upset that Barrett was conceding while people were still trying to vote.
Voters in Milwaukee Tuesday – before the results were in – said they hoped the state could move past its political differences once the election ended.
“Half the population is mad at the other half and that’s not a good thing,” Paul Sohn, a salesman, said at a polling station south of the city. “We need to get away from that, need to figure it out.”