Scott Walker Asks Romney to Put More Meat on Budget Bones

Aug. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Matthew Dowd, Bloomberg political analyst and former chief campaign strategist for George W. Bush, talks about the Republican National Convention and the outlook for the U.S. presidential election. He speaks with Tom Keene and Sara Eisen on Bloomberg Television's "Surveillance." (Source: Bloomberg)

Republican Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin said Mitt Romney needs to be more specific in telling voters how he’d address the nation’s fiscal crisis as president.

“The more meat he can put on the bones the better,” Walker said today at a Bloomberg/Washington Post breakfast at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

Walker, who survived a June recall election in his state that was spurred by his successful push to restrict collective bargaining rights for public-employee unions, said Romney wouldn’t necessarily have to be bipartisan to achieve some of his goals. He said getting along can be a bad thing.

“Both parties, maybe one more than the other -- but both parties -- have been part of the problem of ignoring the fiscal crisis we are facing in this country,” he said. “And if together, people work together and they pursue budgets, they pursue actions that defer those tough decisions, if both parties are doing it, that’s bipartisan, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.”

Read More: Transcript from the breakfast

The governor predicted Romney, 65, will win Wisconsin, a state that hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since President Ronald Reagan carried it in his 1984 re-election against Democrat Walter Mondale, who won one state, his native Minnesota.

Transparency Push

Walker, 44, called on Romney to follow the model of his vice presidential running mate, Representative Paul Ryan, who has presented detailed plans to close the federal deficit in his role as House Budget Committee chairman. The U.S. budget deficit will reach $1.1 trillion this year, marking the fourth consecutive year there has been a trillion-dollar shortfall.

He said voters would appreciate the “transparency” and that he expects Romney and Ryan will present more details in their convention speeches. Ryan speaks tonight, while Romney delivers his convention address tomorrow.

Walker reiterated his call for Todd Akin, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate from Missouri, to exit his race. Akin said Aug. 19 that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancy and so abortion shouldn’t be allowed in rape cases, and Democrats have worked to keep the controversy alive and have continued to criticize Republicans as being hostile toward women.

Republicans risk not gaining a majority in the Senate if Akin remains in the race, Walker said. He called the comment at best “ignorant” and “completely unscientific and ridiculous.”

Four-Seat Pickup

With Democrats controlling the Senate 53-47, Republicans need a net gain of at least three seats in November’s election for a majority. They will need a four-seat pickup if Obama wins re-election because the vice president casts the tie-breaking vote in the chamber.

If Romney runs well in Wisconsin, it could make a major difference in the presidential race. Winning Wisconsin’s 10 electoral votes and a Midwest state would provide him an easier path to the 270 needed to win.

Walker said Ryan’s presence on the Republican ticket will help his party win the state in November, as will the campaign infrastructure built up for the recall contest.

“We’re humming like no other state out there,” he said.

Walker dismissed the contrast between a rising U.S. stock market during President Barack Obama’s administration and Republican rhetoric that the incumbent is anti-business. The Standard and Poor’s 500 Index has risen 75 percent since Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was sworn in.

“Most of the problems we see in our states don’t relate to corporate,” he said. “They’re not related to the stock market. They’re small- and midsized businesses. The vast majority of businesses in our state are not on the New York Stock Exchange. They’re small businesses that have a handful of individuals who are having tremendous concerns about consumer confidence in this economy.”

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Tampa, Florida, at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at jcummings21@bloomberg.net

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