Scott Walker’s advice for Mitt Romney: act more like me and Chris Christie.
Wisconsin’s Republican governor said his party’s presidential nominee should serve up more detail on how he’d govern on tax and spending matters, with himself and the New Jersey governor as role models.
“The more meat he can put on the bones the better,” Walker said at a Bloomberg/Washington Post event yesterday at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Walker, a hero to the anti-tax Tea Party movement after he pushed to restrict collective-bargaining rights for public-employee unions, predicted Romney will win his state, with the help of his running mate, Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
“It’s different than four years ago,” he said, alluding to the selection of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin by John McCain. “In Ryan’s case, it revs up the base, but I think at the same time instead of making McCain look smaller, it makes Romney look bigger by virtue of being willing to put him on.”
Asked whether Ronald Reagan would still fit in the Republican Party because of his willingness to compromise, Walker said he did, before quickly pivoting to Christie.
“Chris is about the most hard-nosed, direct, in-your-face Republican we’ve got out there,” he said. “Yet Chris got his pension reforms through a Democrat-controlled Senate and a Democrat-controlled General Assembly. And that’s probably the best example out there.”
Christie became a national political figure when he raised public employee contributions to pensions and benefits, vetoed tax increases against millionaires and leveled insults at critics during “Jersey-style” confrontations.
Voters appreciate transparency and bluntness, Walker said, adding that he expected Romney and Ryan to come through with their convention speeches.
Walker, who survived a June recall election in his state, said Romney shouldn’t allow himself to be sucked into calls for bipartisanship, which he said can yield bad results.
“Both parties have been part of the problem of ignoring the fiscal crisis we are facing,” he said. “If both parties are doing it, that’s bipartisan, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.”
For success in November, Walker said Romney needs to stand for more than just what’s typically associated with Republicans.
“If he wants to win, he’s got to show that the ’R’ next to his name doesn’t just stand for Republican,” he said. “It stands for Reform.”
Wisconsin hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Reagan carried it in his 1984 re-election against Democrat Walter Mondale, who won one state, his native Minnesota.