Tag Archives: wisconsin governor

Scott Walker’s Canada wall idea called ‘dumb,’ ‘crazy’

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s entertaining the idea of building a wall separating the United States and Canada is being called “crazy” and “dumb.”

Democratic Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy called the idea “one of the craziest” ideas of the presidential campaign.

And Mike Murphy, the head of the Right to Rise super PAC supporting Jeb Bush, said on Twitter that Walker was distracted by focusing on building a wall between the U.S. and Canada.

Murphy’s tweet ended with the hashtag “(hash)NotReady.”

And Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul called it a “pretty dumb idea” in an interview on Boston Herald Radio.

Walker said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that the issue of border security in the north had been raised by law enforcement officials during a recent town hall in New Hampshire.

Walker to donors: Still praying over presidential run

Scott Walker told donors on June 19 that that he’s still praying over whether to run for president in 2016.

He also said he believes he is “uniquely qualified to lead this country.”

In separate fundraising emails, Walker asked supporters if he should run for president even though his candidacy is a near certainty. He’s been traveling the country, raising money and building the infrastructure for months, and is one of the most viable potential Republican candidates.

On June 18, Walker opened a “testing the waters” bank account, another step toward a run.

“I have been praying about this decision for a long time,” Walker said in one email sent on June 19 asking for donations of between $10 and $500. When Walker first acknowledged he was serious considering running for president back in November, shortly after winning re-election to a second term, he said he was praying about it.

“I spend a lot of time not just talking with people but praying about, thinking about with my family as well whether or not eventually that might be a call to run for the presidency,'” Walker said then. “I think you shouldn’t run unless you feel you’re called to do it.”

The right-wing governor has been traveling the country for months, along with other announced and likely Republican presidential candidates. On June 20, he was scheduled to speak at the Northeast Republican Leadership Conference in Philadelphia and at the Road to Majority conference in Washington.

He returned this week from a trade mission in Canada, his fourth overseas trip in five months.

Wisconsin Democratic Party chairwoman Martha Laning said it’s ridiculous for Walker to act as if he hasn’t already made up his mind about running.

“Scott Walker isn’t `testing the waters,’ he’s pushing the limits on how much money he can raise before he officially announces his candidacy,” she said in a statement. “It’s absurd to believe he’s basing his decision on whether to run for president on how many $10 donations he gets.”

Walker has said he won’t officially announce a presidential campaign until he has signed the state budget into law. Republicans who control the Legislature have been at an impasse for three weeks, with no resolution in sight. In his fundraising emails, Walker doesn’t talk about that standstill, but instead touts past victories and even takes a not-so-veiled swipe at Jeb Bush and Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I didn’t inherit fame or fortune and I don’t think being President is by birthright, but I do believe I am uniquely qualified to lead this country,” Walker wrote, echoing comments he’s made in stump speeches.

Walker, who won a 2012 recall motivated by his push to effectively end collective bargaining for public workers, said in another fundraising message Friday that “it took guts to take on the Big Government Labor Bosses who were used to running the show in Wisconsin.”

“Now it’s time to see if our conservative vision should be taken beyond Wisconsin’s borders, but I can’t make that important decision without you by my side,” Walker wrote.

Scott Walker says he doesn’t know if Obama loves the U.S.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading Republican contender for the White House in 2016 getting ever cozier with his tea party base, said over the weekend that he doesn’t know whether President Barack Obama loves his country.

“You should ask the president what he thinks about America,” Walker told The Associated Press while in Washington for a weekend meeting of the National Governors Association. “I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”

Earlier in the week, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said during a dinner speech, with Walker in attendance, “I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”

Democrats have assailed Giuliani for questioning Obama’s love of country and urged the potential field of Republican presidential candidates to rebuke Giuliani for his comments.

DNC National Press Secretary Holly Shulman said, “After sitting silently by when Rudy Giuliani made an outrageous comment that our president doesn’t love America, today Scott Walker has doubled down on his divisive politics saying he doesn’t know if the president loves our country, and then questioning President Obama’s religion.” 

“Scott Walker had a simple test. He could have risen above the fray, but he continues to flatly fail and instead push the same polarizing agenda and politics he has for years in Wisconsin. Today, Walker has proven himself once again to be unfit to lead.”

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, another possible 2016 candidate, said he didn’t think it helps to question the president’s patriotism or motives. Giuliani, Pence said, is “a great American” who is “understandably frustrated with a president who lectures us on the Crusades, but seems incapable of calling radical Islamic violence by name.”

Walker, who has been amassing donors and headlines since a well-received speech last month in Iowa, has been a visible presence at the annual governors’ meeting, participating in events and making himself available to reporters.

He said that if he does choose to run, he’ll likely skip the step of forming a formal exploratory committee and instead transition straight from the political organization he launched to begin raising money to “an outright presidential campaign.”

Walker didn’t say when he’d make a decision but that “any reasonable candidate, whether it be my consideration or anybody else, has to be in by midyear.” He said his state’s budget was generally settled by the end of June.

“If I choose to be a candidate, you’re not going to hear me say ill will about any of the other candidates,” Walker said. “I’m going to talk about what I’m for. I think Americans are sick and tired of politicians that talk about what they’re against and who they’re against.”

When he was campaigning for re-election last year, Walker claimed he planned to be a full-time governor.

Need to know about ‘John Doe’ investigation

A federal appeals court on Sept. 24 overturned a ruling halting an investigation into Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign and more than two dozen conservative groups for alleged illegal campaign activity.

Some questions and answers about the case:

Q. What’s the gist of this investigation again?

A.  Walker was the subject of recall elections in 2012 over the measure he pushed in 2011 to effectively end collective bargaining for most public workers. Prosecutors are looking into whether several conservative groups improperly coordinated with the Walker campaign during recalls, which also targeted Republican state senators, in both 2011 and 2012.

Q. What do the two sides say?

A. Prosecutors say the coordination was illegal. Walker and the conservative groups say it wasn’t, and they’ve portrayed the investigation as politically motivated. Besides being locked in a tough race to win a second term this year against Democrat Mary Burke, Walker’s a decent bet to run for president in 2016.

Q. So what happened Sept. 24?

A: The federal appeals court said the issue belongs in state court, and the court chastised the federal judge in Wisconsin, Rudolph Randa, who sent it their way. The court said Randa abused his discretion. The court said uncertainty over the legality of what occurred is a “powerful reason to leave this litigation in state court, where it may meet its end as a matter of state law without any need to resolve these constitutional questions.”

Q. OK, so now what?

A. Nothing just yet. The case is blocked at the state level because a judge had quashed subpoenas back in January on the grounds that there wasn’t enough evidence of wrongdoing. There’s a request in for the Wisconsin Supreme Court to resolve the matter.

The appeals court decision removes an important barrier to the case restarting.

It also is a defeat for Walker and his allies, who had used Randa’s ruling as fodder to argue the whole thing was political.

Q. What’s the reaction?

A. Walker says the ruling’s impact is limited, given that the investigation remains halted.

An attorney for the lead investigator said the decision adopts their argument in its entirety.

The attorney for Wisconsin Club for Growth said the ruling is “simply wrong” and the group will ask the full Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to hear the case.

The environment: Walker vs. Burke

With the November election six weeks away, neither Republican Gov. Scott Walker nor Democratic challenger Mary Burke have put forward any grand strategies for new environmental or outdoors policies.

In a race that has largely revolved around who can create jobs, both candidates are sticking to general comments about balancing the need to protect natural resources with economic development.

Walker’s record is clear: He spent his first four years in office reversing environmental regulations, suggesting more of the same if he wins a second term.

Burke, a Madison school board member mounting her first bid for a statewide office, has no environmental record. Still,  the Sierra Club’s Wisconsin chapter has endorsed her.

“I don’t mind some of the vagaries,” said Shahla Werner, the chapter director. “We’re just asking for someone to use common sense in making sure our drinking water is safe and development isn’t going to have huge negatives for the environment. It’s been so partisan and ideological rather than data-based for the last four years, we can’t even reason with elected officials.”

Walker spent his first term pushing business-supported environmental initiatives, leading his opponents to accuse him of politicizing the Department of Natural Resources.

He created a new DNR office to support businesses and ordered the agency to take a softer approach in dealing with the public. The number of environmental violations the DNR has referred to the state Justice Department for enforcement has dropped 60 percent since Walker took office.

The governor signed legislation giving wastewater treatment plants, paper mills and food processors 20 years to comply with the state’s phosphorus pollution limits.

He also signed a Republican bill relaxing mining regulations to help jump-start Gogebic Taconite’s plans for an iron mine near Lake Superior despite conservationists’ concerns about pollution in the pristine region.

Walker has taken steps welcomed by hunters, including eliminating a DNR program that required hunters in areas with large deer herds to kill an antlerless deer before taking a buck.

He also hired a Texas researcher to study how the agency could improve relations with hunters.

And Walker signed a controversial bill creating a wolf hunt over complaints from animal rights advocates.

Eric Bott is the environmental policy director for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the state’s largest business group.

He said his organization is pleased with Walker. WMC wants to see the governor speed up air and water permits and stand up for businesses as the state crafts a strategy to meet the Obama’s administration’s call to reduce greenhouse gas emissions over the next four years, he said.

“We’ve seen the governor is really focused on improving the regulatory process,” Bott said. “We would expect those reforms to continue.”

Asked about Walker’s future environmental agenda, campaign spokeswoman Alleigh Marre cited Walker’s experience as a Boy Scout and the lessons he learned about leaving his campsite cleaner than he found it.

“He applies the same approach to protecting our natural resources today,” she said in an email. “Governor Walker believes that the best way to be green is to help people save green or make green. If individuals can save or make money while preserving natural resources, it is both economically and environmentally sustainable.”

Burke, meanwhile, has never held a Wisconsin hunting or fishing license, according to the DNR.

Her campaign website says she opposes the iron mine because Republicans allowed Gogebic Taconite to write its own rules and wants communities to impose local sand mining regulations rather have the state dictate uniform standards.

The site offers almost no other specifics on Burke’s environmental or outdoors agendas, though.

Asked for Burke’s priorities, campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson said by email that Burke would:

• Ensure the agency enforces current environmental law.

• Appoint a DNR secretary with a science-based background.

• Rely on science to manage the state’s deer and wolf hunts.

• Protect water quality.

The email said she would work with legislators to ensure responsible mining but didn’t say how.

George Meyer, executive director of the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, said Burke seems to be looking at issues from a macro level and he’s pleased she’s committed to science.

“That,” Meyer said, “would be a breath of fresh air after this administration.”



Poll gives Walker slight lead over Burke

Polling on a likely general election matchup for governor in Wisconsin shows Republican Gov. Scott Walker with a small lead over Democrat Mary Burke.

Burke is the frontrunner in the Democratic primary.

The poll by Public Policy Polling showed Walker with 48 percent of the vote and Burke with 45 percent. She gained slightly since September, when she had 42 percent support.

Walker, in the poll, had an approval rating of 50 percent and a disapproval rating of 47 percent — proving how divided the state has become.

PPP said the incumbent has the GOP base on “lockdown” with 93 percent support and a disapproval rating of just 4 percent in his party.

So, PPP said, Burke must win with independents — a group she currently has a narrow advantage with.

PPP found Democrats have a slight edge on a generic legislative ballot at 45/41, including an advantage with independents.

Voters in the poll were divided over U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s job performance. Her approval rating is at 42 percent. Her disapproval rating is at 41 percent.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s approval rating is at 34 percent, 2 points lower than his disapproval rating.

On other questions:

• 45 percent approval of Barack Obama’s job performance, 50 percent disapprove.

• 36 percent have a favorable opinion of Burke.

Also, on April 24, Time magazine announced that it included Walker in its list of top 100 influential people in 2014. The tribute to the governor was written by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Walker wrote the tribute to U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan when he made the list several years ago.

Polling shows Wisconsin governor’s race remains close

A new poll shows the race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and Democratic challenger Mary Burke remains close.

The Marquette law school poll released this week says 48 percent of registered voters would vote for Walker and 41 percent support Burke.

The margin of error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

A Marquette poll conducted in January had nearly the same results.

The poll of 801 registered voters was done March 20-23. It is the first poll since the two campaigns started advertising in the governor’s race.