OTR Interviews

Is the Wisconsin recall race truly a 'dry run' for November's presidential election?

Could the results of the Badger State's recall battle be a harbinger of things to come?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," May 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Wisconsin's recall race is now down to the wire. With just days to go sparks are flying. Wisconsin is proving to be a battleground, but not just for Governor Scott Walker and his opponent Mayor Tom Barrett. The national political parties are also duking it out in Wisconsin. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz calling the Democrats recall efforts a dry run for November's presidential race, and even flying in for a fundraiser with Mayor Barrett.

So what does the RNC have to say? RNC Chair Reince Priebus joins us. Good evening, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: I suppose you don't agree often with the DNC chair, but do you agree that this June 5th race is sort of a test run for November?

PRIEBUS: I don't. I mean, we are going to be in great shape in November. I think this is for us a matter of protecting people of their word that run for office and govern like they campaign.

People have asked me, how is it that Walker has become the center of the political universe? And I always think it is because people in this country are starving for real, authentic people to serve this country and to be people of their word and to govern like they campaign.

The reason why we have to win this election in Wisconsin is that the very idea of courage is on the ballot in Wisconsin. The idea that people can make tough decisions and tough choices in this country and they can follow up with what they promised they would do once they get elected so is what is on the ballot. So to me and to people that are passionate about this race, that is what this is about. It's about Wisconsin and it's about America.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, but let's say hypothetically that governor Walker wins by six points. He won by I think six points last time for governor, didn't he?


VAN SUSTEREN: Isn't that a message that I think as a Republican, chair ever the RNC, that you would feel that was a really strong message for how Wisconsin is going to go come November, because last time Wisconsin went for President Obama and they didn't go for Senator McCain?

PRIEBUS: The reason why I push back on this whole test case scenario that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has thrown out there is this not just a test case. This is about the future.

VAN SUSTEREN: But it predicts a little bit about Wisconsin, don't you think?

PRIEBUS: It does. But the conservatives and Republicans together in Wisconsin have done very well over the last few years. We won a Supreme Court case just before Walker won in 2010. Walker won, Johnson won. We swept Wisconsin. We came back and won a Supreme Court case again for the conservative. Democrats fell on their face on the Senate recall in June.

And here we go again. I think Walker obviously is going to win next week. And I think the Democrats have been totally foolish about this primary. I mean, they went in with a candidate that has done one thing really well. He's lost a lot of statewide elections. He's going to lose again. We have -- to your point about Wisconsin and being in the crosshairs, there is no state in the country that the Republican national committee and Republicans in Wisconsin know more about, every single voter in that state. Think about it. I mean, the intense effort that we've had on the ground. We know where the votes are. It's a turnout election.

VAN SUSTEREN: Actually the numbers, they are already predicting a rather substantial turnout.


VAN SUSTEREN: It will be an incredible turnout even by the absentee votes and the early voting. There will be a lot of people very interested.

PRIEBUS: There's a reason why Obama and the DNC and the Democrats aren't happy about this race.

VAN SUSTEREN: He's not there campaigning for Tom Barrett either.

PRIEBUS: Well, the Democrats have set up a world virus event for us next week, except they are totally flopping on this thing. They are not supporting Tom Barrett. And they're not supporting him because number one they don't want to flush money down a toilet, but they also know what the ramifications are. Now you have got yet another race where Republicans and conservatives have won. Now the Democrats have to come back.

Just remember, when the Democrats lose next week, they aren't going to just enter into the election for November. They are going to have a little circular firing squad and a blame game going on for a few weeks. Then they are going to have to come back and try to win this thing in November. And Wisconsin goes red for Mitt Romney, it's over. It's lights out for Barack Obama.

VAN SUSTEREN: I will see you next week. You agreed to do the show next week.

PRIEBUS: You bet. I'll be in Wisconsin this weekend campaigning through the weekend and I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday.

VAN SUSTEREN: Reince, nice to have you.

PRIEBUS: Thanks.