A day before Wisconsin voters will decide whether to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker, he framed a potential win as a “victory of courage” that would resound nationwide.
“To me, this victory tomorrow would be a victory for everyone across the country, in a local government, in a state government, and even those people like my friend [Wisconsin Republican Rep.] Paul Ryan in Washington, who’s trying to do equally as courageous things. It would be a victory to say that voters really do mean it when they say that they want us to take on the tough issues,” Walker said on Monday on Fox News’ Your World With Neil Cavuto.
The most recent polling shows Walker slightly ahead of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, but Democrats have made a strong final push, with former President Clinton stumping for Barrett in Wisconsin last week. Aside from a spokesman's statement endorsing Barrett, President Obama has stayed out of the state and a battle that has polarized voters there. Obama tweeted backing for Barrett on Monday evening, saying he would make "an outstanding governor."
Walker chalked up Obama's distance from the race to what he sees as frustration among Wisconsinites about the recall process in general. "A number of them who are Democrats tell me they don’t like the recall process and my guess is the president and his folks just want to shy away from that,” he said.
The recall pits the tea party-backed Walker against union forces in a bitter battle over Walker's successful push for sharp curbs on public union bargaining and influence. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, like Obama, has stayed out of the state during the recall campaign; both are trying to preserve their chances to win middle-of-the-road voters there in November.
Walker said he wasn't looking to join Romney's ticket. When asked by Cavuto about the potential of running alongside Romney, Walker suggested that if Romney asked him his thoughts on a vice presidential pick, "my friend Paul Ryan would be at the top of the list, he'd do an exceptional job."
When pushed on the issue, Walker said he wasn't interested, as evidenced by the hard work he has been putting into this recall election.
"For my family, for this state, for my supporters, I'm not going through a year and a half of this to take off," he said. "I'd say I've gotta fulfill my commitment to the voters of the state of Wisconsin. We didn't go through this election, we didn't go through this battle, we didn't go through all this for me to go and take off somewhere."
Walker said he sees the recall as an election with far-reaching consequences. “Beyond Wisconsin, why many of my fellow reform-minded governors are here in the state of Wisconsin over the last couple of weeks helping us out, is they understand that this is really a sign about whether or not elected officials have the courage to take on these tough issues,” he said.