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Public Statements

ABC "This Week" - Transcript -

Interview

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RADDATZ: Okay thank you all for joining us. And now Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, a GOP rising star and Tea Party favorite. He made his name taking on unions and is now a possible 2016 contender. Jon Karl is back with the inside story of a man who at one point was the most divisive politician in America.

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JON KARL, CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, ABC NEWS: It was nearly three years ago that the Occupy Movement was born. Right here in Madison, Wisconsin.

The focus of the anger, Republican Governor Scott Walker for making a frontal assault against public employee unions with a measure that would strip away most of their collective bargaining rights.

GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER, WISCONSIN: Some have questioned why we have to reform collective bargaining to balance the budget. The answer is simple, the system is broken.

KARL: For a time Walker seemed to be the most hated man in Wisconsin. Now he is running for re-election and considered by many Republicans to be a top contender for the 2016 Presidential Nomination.

In a new book he tells the story of the confrontation that brought 100,000 protesters outside his office in the Capital Building for weeks on end. He was compared to Hitler and Osama bin Laden. "Time Magazine" declared him "Dead Man Walker". He and his family received death threats.

WALKER: There are signs out there that have my picture with a scope site on it. There are people who say a good Republican is a dead Republican.

This tunnel connects from across the street.

KARL: The Governor gave us a first ever look at the secret tunnel he used to get in and out of his office during the occupation.

The protesters didn't figure a way to?

WALKER: No.

KARL: One scene that makes the federal government shutdown look tame by comparison?

All in favor say aye, all opposed say nay. The ayes have it.

When Republicans rammed Walker's bill through the Assembly, all hell broke loose.

CROWD: Shame! Shame! Shame!

WALKER: This was intense. You had not only the protesters up there but you had members who were yelling and really screaming at members of the other side.

KARL: Walker acknowledges making some mistakes along the way. But he is more critical of how Republicans in Washington handled the government shutdown.

Governor Walker, for a while, you were the most divisive man in America. What'd you learn from that?

WALKER: I came in wanting to fix things having a $3.6 billion budget deficit. I was so eager to fix that, I didn't spend my time talking about it with the people of this state.

KARL: When you were elected in 2010, you were a something of a Tea Party hero. What do you make of the Tea Party movement now? I mean, tarnished in many ways. Certainly battered in the polls. Blamed for the government shutdown.

WALKER: I don't think it's a movement that's monolithic. I, like others, was a bit frustrated with the shutdown because I don't think the way you make the compelling case to the American people that we can do better is by shutting things down.

KARL: So the Republicans who pushed that strategy made a mistake?

WALKER: I think so.

KARL: Congress's approval rating has now fallen to 9%, the lowest ever in the gallery.

WALKER: That's really just family members right?

KARL: As you know the most unpopular of the unpopular are Republicans in Congress. Where has the Republican Party just gone bad, gone wrong?

WALKER: Republicans at the State level are showing we're much more optimistic. We're speaking in terms that are much more relevant to where real voters are at.

KARL: And Republicans in Congress it's just about what? No, no, no?

WALKER: Yeah I think so. I think that's a real problem.

KARL: When Walker talks about the kind of candidate Republicans should nominate in 2016, it sounds more than a little like he is talking about himself.

So describe for me the ideal Republican Presidential Candidate in 2016.

WALKER: I think it's got to be an outsider. I think both the presidential and the vice-presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor. People who have done successful things in their states. Who've taken on big reforms. Who are ready to move America forward.

KARL: So that rules out Marco Rubio, it rules out Ted Cruz, it rules out Rand Paul.

WALKER: All good guys, but it's got to be somebody who's viewed as being exceptionally remote from Washington.

KARL: Your criteria also would rule out Paul Ryan.

WALKER: Yeah and I love Paul Ryan. Paul Ryan, if he had a fan club, I'd be the president of that.

KARL: Will you commit to the voters of Wisconsin, the citizens of Wisconsin that you will serve out a full second term?

WALKER: In my case I have never made that commitment or--

KARL: Why not?

WALKER: Well because to me it's not about the time you serve in office, I feel right now, my calling is to be the Governor in the State of Wisconsin. That's where I'm called to.

KARL: But when you won't commit to serving a full second term, I mean, how do you interpret that as anything other than leaving the door open to run for president? That door is open right? You've said it. I mean you're certainly not ruling it out.

WALKER: I don't rule anything out.

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