CBS’s Whitaker: Fla., Wisc. Governor’s Races Represent ‘Referendum’ on GOP ‘Playbook’

On Monday’s CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker opined during a roundtable discussion that Tuesday’s governor’s elections in Florida and Wisconsin featuring incumbent Republican Governors Rick Scott and Scott Walker (respectively) will be “a referendum on” the “policies” that the two have implemented in their states based on “the Republican playbook.”

When asked by Pelley about which of the 36 governor’s races that will be decided on Tuesday he is watching for, Whitaker cited “three races to watch, that’s in Florida, Wisconsin and Colorado.” [MP3 audio here; Video below]

After mentioning that Scott is facing Democrat Charlie Crist (failing to mention Crist was both a former Governor and Republican) while Walker’s Democratic challenger is Mary Burke, Whitaker suggested that: “Now, both Scott and Walker have followed the Republican playbook on taxes, on abortion, on same-sex marriage, and tomorrow's kind of shaping up to be a referendum on those policies.”

Whitaker also mentioned Colorado as being another he’ll watch as incumbent “Democratic Governor, John Hickenlooper, is facing a backlash for having supported tougher gun legislation, and he's in a very tight race with Republican Bob Beauprez.” It's worth noting that nowhere in the segment did Whitaker or anyone on the panel suggest that the Colorado race for governor (or any other race) was a referendum on a Democratic "playbook" of policies.

CBS News political director John Dickerson also weighed in on the governor’s races, stating that  while voters say “Washington is so frozen in gridlock that even if the party that controls the Senate changes, nothing will change,” voters believe that “in the states, they pretty much still operate in government the way it's supposed to.”

The relevant portion transcript of the segment that aired on the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley on November 3 can be found below.

CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley
November 3, 2014
6:35 p.m. Eastern

SCOTT PELLEY: Now, it's important to note that there are 36 governor's races that are up tomorrow, as well and Bill Whittaker’s been following those. Bill, what are you looking for tomorrow night? 

BILL WHITAKER: Scott, three races to watch, that’s in Florida, Wisconsin and Colorado. In Florida, the Republican Governor Rick Scott is in a tight race with the Democrat Charlie Crist and in Wisconsin, Republican Governor Scott Walker is facing Democrat Mary Burke. Now, both Scott and Walker have followed the Republican playbook on taxes, on abortion, on same-sex marriage, and tomorrow's kind of shaping up to be a referendum on those policies. Now, in Colorado, the Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, is facing a backlash for having supported tougher gun legislation, and he's in a very tight race with Republican Bob Beauprez. Now, Scott, the same number of governor's seats as Senate seats are up for grabs tomorrow, 36, but the candidates for governor have outspent the candidates for Senate by more than $50 million. 

PELLEY: Wow. John Dickerson, our political director, John, what's riding on the governors' races? 

DICKERSON: Well, voters tell pollsters that basically Washington is so frozen in gridlock that even if the party that controls the Senate changes, nothing will change, but in the states, they pretty much still operate in government the way it's supposed to and, so, that means the governor's elections are going to affect the way people’s lives are changed on education, on law and order, on health care. Take Maine, for example. It’s one of a dozen governor’s races. In that state, the incumbent, Paul Lepage, has vetoed his legislature's bill to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. If the Democrat, Mike Michaud, wins, that expansion will take place and go forward. There are also political stakes. If Scott Walker, the Republican, is reelected in Wisconsin or John Kasich is reelected, Republican in Ohio, immediately they'll be talked about as presidential hopefuls because those are battleground states. If they don't run, they'll nevertheless be models for anybody who does want to win in those state.

Campaigns & Elections 2014 Governors Political Groups Conservatives & Republicans Liberals & Democrats CBS CBS Evening News Florida Wisconsin Charlie Crist Scott Walker Mary Burke Governor Rick Scott Bill Whitaker John Dickerson Rick Scott
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