Political Animal


July 15, 2012 10:16 AM Wis. Gov. Scott Walker Has Some Advice for Mitt Romney

By Adele Stan

The National Governors Association is about to kick off its annual meeting, giving reporters a prime opportunity to schmooze multiple govs in a presidential election year. And the way things tend to work in our election system these days, the outcome of the race could ultimately hang by the vote count in a single state.

The meeting, in Williamsburg, Va., is hosted by the commonwealth’s Gov. Bob McDonnell, who is often mentioned as a contender for the number two slot on the Republican presidential ticket.

Not surprisingly, governors on both sides of the aisle had no shortage of advice for their respective presidential candidates. Republicans, predictably, want Romney to fight back harder against the Obama campaign’s charges of dishonesty on Romney’s part regarding his tenure at Bain Capital. (Yesterday, I speculated as to why Romney wants people to believe he wasn’t running the show in November 1999 — when Bain invested in a medical waste firm that disposes of aborted fetuses.)

In today’s story on advice from GOP govs, Politico features an interview of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, fresh from his recall victory, who uses the opportunity to take a victory lap. From the article by Jonathan Martin and James Hohmann:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who last month fought back a recall effort, said the GOP nominee could take a lesson from that contest, one in which Democrats similarly launched a relentless series of attacks. Walker urged Romney to respond to Obama’s assault like he did against Democrat Tom Barrett, first portraying the president as desperate, then quickly laying out what his plans are on the economy and spending. “It’s not something you just chat about amongst reporters on background, I think he needs to personally say it, I think it needs to be in ads,” said Walker, adding that Romney had been solid in his discussion of jobs but “should do a little bit more of that with the budget.”
The Badger State governor, a star now in conservative circles following his second victory in less than two years, recalled a successful event Romney recently held at a Wisconsin small business and said the candidate should dispense with the speeches and be more accessible.
“My advice to the campaign is he should do that all that time,” Walker said. “He should be out on that bus tour. He was comfortable. He was at ease. The small business people ate him up. They loved him. He didn’t just talk to them, photo op and move on, he incorporated that in his comments on the stump later. I’d get rid of that podium. I’d give him a mic and have him walk right out with people because I think he gets a bum rap from people in terms of his perception. I found him to be very comfortable with people and engaged. I’d put him on a bus, and I’d send him all over.”

Of course, Romney already has, in his camp, two guys who could claim credit for Walker’s triumph over the recall effort in Wisconsin: Tim Phillips, president of David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity, which concocted much of the messaging used by Walker, and Ralph Reed, chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, which ran a voter-turnout operation that Reed claims put Walker over the top. (Reed also stands to profit from that effort: his non-profit Faith and Freedom Coalition contracted with his for-profit consulting firm, Century Strategies, to provide high-tech voter turnout services. Phillips co-founded Century Strategies with Reed.)

Meanwhile, Democratic governors interviewed by Politico’s Edward-Isaac Dovere expressed concern that President Barack Obama isn’t talking enough about the stimulus package he signed, and the many advantages it conferred upon suffering states. Here’s Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin:

“A lot of the innovation that we’re seeing in Vermont is the result of the stimulus package,” Shumlin said. “People recognize that we were down in the dumps, we were on our bellies, our economy was shrinking, and those public investments in infrastructure — roads, bridges and telecommunications and rail — have helped to save the little state of Vermont from a really desperate economic situation. There’s just no doubt about that.”

The Politico piece goes on to say it’s not just the blue states whose citizens recognize the benefits of the stimulus:

That feeling extends beyond the unassailable blue territory in the Green Mountains, [Kentucky Gov. Steve] Beshear said. The voters he talks to in Kentucky know and respect the stimulus, too. “Most of the states, including Kentucky, would not be where they are today if we hadn’t received a lot of that money,” Beshear said.


  • DAY on July 15, 2012 11:02 AM:

    The danger of giving " him a mic and have him walk right out with people " is that "people" tend to ask questions that require specific answers.
    -"People" also have very active bullshit meters. (and cellphones that record everything.)

  • Joe Friday on July 15, 2012 11:05 AM:

    Ah, aren't Walker’s approval ratings in the low thirties ?

    Willard should DEFINITELY take his advice.

  • c u n d gulag on July 15, 2012 1:06 PM:

    Ralph Reed in a snake in human form.
    I may not like a lot of Conservatives, but this guy is nothing but evil incarnate, carrying a Bible for cover.

    And yes, Gov. Walker, let Mitt out wander about with the little people.

    Keeeeeerist! What can go wrong there?

    The man's terrified of saying something when he's talking to people from up on a stage, behind a podium, and reading a teleprompter.

    Do the Koch's make 'Depends?"

    They'd better donate a shipping container full of them - because, if you push Mitt, the most stiff politician I've ever seen, to talk to the little people, with their video and audio recording cell phones, he'll be wetting and pooping himself at every stop.

    Maybe his campaign song can be, Lynyrd Skynyrd's "The Smell:"
    "Ooooh that smell.
    Can't you smell that smell?
    Ooooh that smell..."
    And find some other next line it - though the real one, "The smell of death surrounds you," would be appropriate for 99% of the rest of us.
    Maybe, 'That's the smell of doing real well?"

  • zandru on July 15, 2012 3:26 PM:

    Scott Walker

    There was a spot on the Thomm Hartmann radio show this week wherein a lady representing a Wisconsin group rechecking the election results stated:

    * they have begun doing hand recounts of the results, rather than just running the paper ballots through the same machines again
    * in each recount they have done, the hand count is different from the machine count, to a statisticly significant degree
    * all the deviations favor the Republicans
    * the big "gains" came in the solid Republican areas, so it wouldn't trigger suspicions

    The bottom line is that Walker cheated, and may not have actually won. Since he's still clinging to power, however, he's clearly a Hero of the GOP and someone the rest of them need to emulate.

  • jjm on July 15, 2012 3:28 PM:

    "Walker urged Romney to respond to Obama’s assault like he did against Democrat Tom Barrett, first portraying the president as desperate, then quickly laying out what his plans are on the economy and spending. "

    Ay-there's the rub.

    It's the same with Bain: if Romney were to lay out his actual plans in some detail, the basis for even worse attacks could be laid. That's why someone--Haley Barbour was it? -- advised him NOT to lay out any plans, calling it smart to keep them quiet till after the election.

    What the heck kind of advice is that? Advice you give when you know that what your candidates plans are would devastate his popularity.

  • low-tech cyclist on July 15, 2012 7:57 PM:

    He'll never talk to common people,
    he'll never answer questions common people ask

    You're welcome for the earworm.

    If it's not an earworm, here:

    (Sorry, Pulp fans, I prefer Shatner's cover.)