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CBS "Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer" - Transcript


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Governor, thank you for being with us. You heard in the opening of the program that the president said that the private sector is fine. Mitt Romney of course fired back immediately and used what happened out there in Wisconsin as part of his answer. I want to you listen to what he said here.


ROMNEY: Instead he wants to add more to government. He wants another stimulus. He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin, the American people did, it's time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.


SCHIEFFER: So, there you have it, Governor. Is that the message? Do the American people want fewer cops and fewer firemen and fewer teachers or was there a different message, as you saw it?

WALKER: Well, I think it's slightly different. I think in our case what they wanted is people willing to take on the tough issues not only here in Wisconsin but across the country. And I think Governor Romney has a shot if the "R" next to his name doesn't just stand for "Republican," it stands for "reformer."

If he shows my state and he shows Americans that he has got a plan to take on these reforms, I think the real difference with what the president said this week is simple. The president and his allies believe success in government is defined by how many people are dependent on government programs. I think I, Governor Romney, and others, believe that success is just the opposite. How many fewer people are dependent on government programs because they have a job in the private sector where they can control their own freedom, their own destiny and ultimately lead to greater prosperity? That's the real difference there.

SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think Governor Romney is talking about getting rid of more teachers and firemen?

WALKER: No. I think in the end the big issue is that the private sector still needs more help. And the answer is not more big government. I know in my state our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers, and teachers. That's not what I think of when I think of big government.

I think that the bigger sense is, more government regulations, more stimulus, more things that take money out of the private sector and put it in the hands of the government.

That's not the answer out there. More people on unemployment benefits is not success in America, fewer people on not because we kicked them off but because they have been able to get a job in the private sector, because government got out of the way.

That's the answer to truly stimulate the economy. That's what we saw generation ago when President Reagan signed the Economic Recovery Act of 1981. In '82 we saw at the beginning of that unemployment even higher than we saw even at the height of this recession.

But after it had a time to go in to effect we saw the largest peace-time economic boom in American history. It can happen again.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you this. People on both sides out there sort of said, well, you know, I may not agree with the governor on the stand he took, but he was a man of conviction. He stood up for what he thought was right and he was willing to take on people on that.

In your first answer there, you seem to be saying that maybe you said you hope that's what Governor Romney would do. A lot of people -- or some people at least in the Republican Party even are saying that he needs to stand up more for things and not sort of try to be all things to all people.

WALKER: Well, I think he's capable of that. You look at Governor Romney's record in the private sector, he helped turn businesses around. Certainly a decade ago he took what would have been an international disaster with the U.S. Olympics, and turned it around for America and made us great again (AUDIO GAP) Olympics in Salt Lake City.

He has got the capacity to do it. I just hope he takes a page out of President Reagan's playbook in 1980 where it was not only a referendum on the failed policies of President Carter at the time, it was also something where President Reagan laid out a clear plan.

I can remember, I was just about 13 at the time, and still today, I can remember less government, smaller government, fewer taxes, lower taxes, strong national defense. Those are things that people remember then, I think Governor Romney can lay it out. And he has got the capacity and experience to do that.

But here in Wisconsin and other swing states, I think that's the key. The "R" next to the name cannot be just about being "Republican," it has got to be about "reformer." People are desperate for leadership in Washington and we're just not seeing it out of the leaders there, at least not in the White House.

SCHIEFFER: But you think he can do more along that line?

WALKER: Well, I think people like Paul Ryan and others and I hope that he goes big and he goes bold. I think he has got the capacity to do that. I don't think we win if it's just about a referendum on Barack Obama. I think it has got to be more.

I think voters are hungry, and my state a good example. I had people in the last couple of weeks of my election come up to me and say, I voted for your opponent the last time but I'm voting for you now.

And the reason for them was simple, they said, finally someone is willing to take on the tough issues facing our state, the economic and the fiscal crisis we faced in our state. People are so hungry for leaders that are willing to be able to stand up and take on those decisions. So I think the governor can do that as well.

SCHIEFFER: Is Wisconsin Romney country now?

WALKER: Well, I think it's up in the air. I think it's definitely in play. You know, six months ago I think the White House had it firmly in their column. I think it is up in the air.

But I think it's really very much left up not just to Republican or conservative voters, but to those swing voters who again elected me by a larger margin than they did two years ago to say, if Governor Romney can show that he has got clear plan, a plan to take on the kind of reforms we need to make America great again, particularly for our kids, I think that can win in Wisconsin and I think it can win in other swing states.

SCHIEFFER: Governor, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We really appreciate your answering the questions.


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