WASHINGTON — Running as a reformer with a ???clear, bold plan??? and perhaps naming House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R.-Wisc.) as his running mate will certainly help Mitt Romney carry Wisconsin and perhaps defeat Barack Obama this November.
So said the man whose name has recently become synonymous with Wisconsin and public sector union reform: Republican Gov. Scott Walker, whose initiatives requiring some public employees to pay for part of their pensions and health care premiums resulted in his becoming the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall election. Thursday morning, nine days after emerging triumphant from the recall race, the 43-year-old Walker spoke to reporters at a breakfast in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
Although a Rasmussen Poll recently showed Romney leading Obama by a margin of 47 to 46 percent among likely voters in Wisconsin, Walker says ???if Gov. Romney looks at Wisconsin, and that he can just because I have an ???R??? next to my name and he has an ???R??? next to his name, if voters see that as just about being a Republican, that???s not enough to win in Wisconsin.???
Walker believes that for Romney to become the first Republican to carry the Badger State???s 10 electoral votes since 1984, he must ???feel that instead of just thinking Republican when they see that ???R???, instead think of ???reformer,??? and think: here???s a candidate for president who has a clear bold plan to take on the economic and fiscal crisis that our country faces, I think he???s got a shot.???
Recalling how he was 13 when Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980, Walker said that he knew then and could still recite the vision of reform Reagan laid out: ???strong national defense, limited government, lower taxes.???
Much as Reagan???s race against Jimmy Carter was not only a referendum on Carter, Walker said, Romney???s campaign ???cannot just be a referendum on Obama. Romney???s got to have a plan [voters] can believe in.???
Walker???s own defeat of Democrat Tom Barrett in the special election June 5 sparked talk that the Walker organization could simply be transferred to Romney and that would be the GOP hopeful???s ticket to carrying the state. Clearly, Walker himself does not think that it’s so simple.
This reporter cited his own coverage of the recall in Madison and Waukesha and pointed out to the governor that several Republican consultants voiced concern on Election Day that there was not an ???infantry??? of his supporters to turn supporters out as the Democrats and labor unions had.
Agreeing that there were a lot of people on the ground to help turn out Democratic support, Walker said ???we didn???t need a bullhorn or protest sign [to turn out our supporters]. We got as many votes in the primary as the top two Democratic primary contenders.??? After all the money spent by labor unions on trying to recall several state senators, a state supreme court justice, and Walker himself, the governor said, he and his team knew where their votes were ???months ago.???
Rather than having people on the ground, he explained, ???we had a victory office where callers made voter contact calls??? to remind backers of the governor to vote. This was put together by the campaign working jointly with the Republican National Committee.
Walker went on to make clear his first choice for Romney???s running mate was his ???fellow cheese-head [Republican Rep.] Paul Ryan,??? who, he said, ???has incredible respect on both sides of the aisle,??? and that is ???even among people who don???t agree with him.???
After Ryan, Walker said, ???there are governors who would make a great match??? with Romney, and they include New Jersey???s Chris Christie, Indiana???s Mitch Daniels, and Louisiana???s Bobby Jindal.