Whatever happens in Wisconsin next week, this dramatic moment from last night’s debate is definitely worth a watch, and it’s got labor and Dems buzzing throughout the state.

Tom Barrett aggressively laces into Scott Walker over the Governor’s vicious new ad that uses a severely beaten two-year-old to paint Barrett as soft on crime. Barrett blasts the ad as “Willie Horton stuff,” and tells Walker he should be “ashamed” of using a child to attack his integrity.

Barrett then closes with this: “I have a police department that arrests felons. He has a practice of hiring them.”

Watch the video, which was clipped by the labor-backed We Are Wisconsin, for yourself:

As Dave Catanese noted, Barrett’s outrage “created the most emotionally charged moment of the evening,” and Barrett “appeared to get the best of the exchange.”

Barrett’s use of the back-and-forth to attack Walker over the John Doe investigation is particularly interesting. Yesterday it was reported that a 13th aide has now been granted immunity as part of the probe, and Barrett attempted to use the moment to turn the tables on one of Walker’s main closing arguments — about crime stats in Milwaukee — and pivot back to allegations of Walker corruption. The exchange is heartening to labor and Dems because it’s the kind of charged debate moment that has at least the possibility of breaking through a bit and having an impact in a campaign’s final days.

Walker still leads Barrett in most polls, and many commentators still see him as the heavy favoriate, but labor and Dems insist the race has tightened to a dead heat. We’ll soon find out if there’s anything to this argument, but many have observed that the Walker attack ad featuring the two-year-old child is not the kind of spot a campaign runs if it’s extremely confident of winning.