“The President’s plan has failed,” said Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, taking a break from a weekend of nonstop campaigning for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to speak to NH Journal, “23 million of our fellow Americans looking for work, 43 months of unemployment above 8 percent; it’s failed, and pouring more of our taxpayer money into government programs is not the answer.”
“In contrast, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have a plan to help put 12 million of our fellow Americans back to work and even more thereafter, it’s a plan that’s based on helping the private sector, small businesses, create more jobs, lower the tax burden, streamline the regulatory burden, make greater use of North American energy supplies, and put greater focus on the skills our workers need to get working,” Walker continued, “those are the things that will put people back to work.”
Never known to mince words, the conservative firebrand from Wisconsin, who survived a contentious recall election in June, braved New Hampshire’s chilly rain on Saturday to tout Mitt Romney’s message, meet and greet with volunteers canvassing the state, and rile up the Republican base.
Walker’s visit coincided with that of vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, whom he referred to as his “fellow Cheesehead,” given their shared Wisconsin residency. When asked about Ryan’s selection as Romney’s running mate, Walker was enthusiastic.
“I’d advocated for it since my recall election and I was thrilled…because so many of us had known that Mitt Romney was qualified to be president,” said Walker, listing off Romney’s private sector credentials, including turning around the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, “By picking Paul Ryan, though, I think he showed…that this was a guy – Mitt Romney – who’s got the passion and the courage to be a superior president, and that’s what I think was so important about the pick.”
Walker – who was elected to his first term as governor in 2010 but faced a recall election this year – quickly made waves by instituting an aggressive overhaul of Wisconsin’s collective bargaining laws aimed at reforming a nearly bankrupt public pension system. With the competitive gubernatorial race between Maggie Hassan and Ovide Lamontagne revolving around many of the same issues, Walker had some advice for the Granite State’s next governor.
“I think you want to take the issues head on, you want to deal with it right away like we did, and I think the most important thing is, not only in the campaign but once you become governor, immediately laying out what the problems are, what the challenges are, and then laying out a course of action,” advised Walker.
He also weighed in on the contenders: “I think for most people in times of crisis its not just about Republican versus Democrat leadership, its about leadership, and I think Ovide has established his ability in the private sector. The work he’s done in his public roles in the past and certainly in his nonprofit roles has shown that he is that kind of leader.”
On the subject of leadership, Walker remained humble while discussing his role as a standard-bearer for fiscal conservatism, and his national political aspirations. “From my standpoint, the best way I can influence the debate is speaking out when needed and supporting candidates who share those views, and the best thing I can do in helping them – whether its to campaign Mitt Romney or helping Ovide here – is draw attention to what is really at stake,” he said, adding, “What it really boils down to is who’s going to be in charge, is it a handful of big government special interests or is it the hard-working taxpayers? We [Wisconsin] chose the hard-working taxpayers.”
Passions ran high leading up to Walker’s June recall election, with Big Labor casting Walker as the devil incarnate while conservatives rallied behind him as a fiscal fighter, so Walker knows a thing or two about voter enthusiasm. When asked if he still feels that level of enthusiasm among voters in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and other states he visits heading towards the November election, he unequivocally replies ‘yes.’
“I think there’s no doubt that people are pumped up, I mean for us to see volunteers making phone calls as many as four to six times as many calls as had been made four years ago, I think almost as many as ten times more contacts on the doors, that’s just a real indicator of enthusiasm,” he said, referring to the latest metrics from the RNC Victory operation in New Hampshire.
“I think they realize the with combination between the presidential and the gubernatorial election there’s some really big things at stake that will determine not just our generation but future generations’ success in New Hampshire and Wisconsin and across the country. I think that the stakes are so high that people are pumped up to do something about it.”