Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker dismissed talk of the 2016 White House race as he promoted his new book Friday--but described an ideal candidate that looks just like him: "An ideal candidate to me would be a current or former governor," Walker said. "Just because I think governors have executive experience and, more importantly, I think there's a real sense across America that people want an outsider."
Walker is hardly the only one these days denying a focus on the White House race, while at the same time describing the perfect candidate as someone a lot like himself. The hopefuls may be playing coy about their own intentions at this early stage, but they're certainly willing to paint a picture of what the GOP nominee should look like--and if it comes out as a self-portrait, then so be it.
A rundown from the past week:
— Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in an interview on Bloomberg Television's Political Capital With Al Hunt: "What I think the next president should be is someone who's leading the fight for free-market principles and the Constitution, and someone who's listening to the American people--not listening to the established politicians."
— Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, after stating that the nominee did not need to be a governor: "I would like to make sure we get a person who is a standard-bearer who can go the distance," Ryan said. "I am familiar with what going the distance means, and it means a lot. It is not easy to do." He added that the nominee should "be strong on principles, inclusive on ideas," and show people "the full spectrum of conservatism."
— New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also at The Wall Street Journal's CEO Council, said the candidate seeking a path to victory in a national race must avoid "focus-group-tested" speeches. "You need someone who's clear, direct, and authentic and says what they think," he said.
— Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, at the Republican Governors Association meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz.: "When I look at 2016, and I don't have a candidate that I'm backing, I'm going to be looking not for somebody that says I want to go to Washington, D.C., and run it like I ran where I came from. I want somebody that says I'm going to go to Washington, D.C., and make it more possible for the next person running where I came from to do it with more freedom and flexibility."
— And finally, give Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., some points for being straightforward: On Monday, he bluntly told Fox News that he thinks Americans want someone like him. "I think they want someone outside of, you know, what's been going on. For example, someone like myself who has been promoting term limits," he said. "Someone who says we shouldn't have, you know, decade after decade longevity up here.
This article appears in the November 25, 2013 edition of NJ Daily.