Publicizing his new book while facing a re-election campaign, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker spoke with several reporters during a wide-ranging interview in the nation’s capital.
As a potential Republican presidential nominee in 2016, reporters asked Walker about his positions on abortion, immigration and homosexual marriage. Walker managed to avoid directly answering the questions, claiming that as governor of Wisconsin, he has no need to consider national issues.
Walker made headlines in 2011 by leading legislation that would limit increases in benefits for state workers while the state was undergoing a downturn in the economy. Then in 2012, he survived a grassroots revenge campaign organized by union activists to recall him from office. After the smoke cleared, Republicans gained seats in the legislature during the 2012 elections.
Walker said he and other republicans defeated union and democratic activists because he had the courage to stick to his principles. "Voters say they don't want wimpy promises, and have the courage to follow-through on those issues," Walker said. "The center wanted people to lead, not run on the issues."
How the GOP could retake the US Senate
Asked how the GOP could win the Senate in the 2014 elections, Walker explained that Republicans must not be viewed as the 'party of no' as Democrats have tried to brand them. "As they're running for Senate, focus on the two key issues: an economic concern in our country, [and] there are still too many who are not coming through." Walker explained that Reagan's 1980 acceptance speech should be a model for the Republican Party to message for voters. "If you live in poverty, we want to lift you out,” he said. “We don't want to leave anyone behind. We need to embrace that across the board."
Social Issues and the GOP Primary
Walker believes the GOP primary debates and primary process are fundamentally flawed and it funnels unnecessary attention on wedge issues such as abortion.
Walker described that social issues take higher prominence with each debate that finds "minute differences" between the candidates for the media to digest and debate. "With 23 debates, it's unmanageable on any issue," he said.
Moderating the Republican Party
"It's a mistake to change position," Walker explained when asked whether the Republican Party should change their views on abortion to be able to win elections. "Voters don't want a replica on beliefs on every issue."
Another reporter asked how the next Republican president could strengthen traditional marriage and reduce abortion. Walker replied that strong families increase education of individuals and lift them out of poverty. With pregnancy safe havens and changing the law to make it easier to adopt, Walker said incidents of abortion would decrease.
Walker denied any chance for running for president and dismissed questions on abortion and homosexual marriage as irrelevant for someone running for a state office. “On the federal issue,” he said, “that's something I haven't really pondered.”