This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 4, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": From Madison, Wisconsin, this is it, do or die, the final hours before voters in this state decide whether to make their governor the third to go down to recall defeat. There have only been three in American history.
It didn’t fare well for those other two. Scott Walker hopes to make it the exception today.
Welcome, everybody. I am Neil Cavuto coming to you from the Badger State; where right now both sides are badgering each other and trying to taking advantage of a vote that is too close to call.
And to Republican Governor Walker telling me earlier today he is confident he will win out. He is confident, he says, because the trend is his friend, the economy is picking up, the unemployment rate is coming down, he says all because of the very measures that have led to this new recall election now.
But Governor Walker reminding me he is fit, he is ready, and he is going to survive.
Governor Walker earlier today.
CAVUTO: Governor, pleasure to have you.
How you holding up?
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: I’m doing well. The voice is a little bit short, but, other than that, everything else is doing well.
CAVUTO: Polling is always all over the map. And there are wide potential swings for error here. But it looks good thus far. If you win, what do you think it means?
WALKER: Well, I think it’s a victory for courage, not only here in Wisconsin, but I think across the country.
For years, I have heard people tell me, voters tell me -- didn’t matter if it was Democrat or Republican alike -- people complaining that politicians at the local level, at the state level, particularly at the national level, didn’t have the courage, didn’t have the guts to take on tough issues.
And it is -- everybody knows we have got to take these issues on, but politicians, when they get into office, failed to do that. To me, this -- a victory tomorrow would be a victory for everyone across the country in a local government and a state government and even those people like my friend Paul Ryan in Washington trying to do equally as courageous a thing, it would be a victory to say that voters really do mean it when they say they want us to take on the tough issues.
CAVUTO: What do you think about that Barack Obama has not been here?
WALKER: Well, I think it is interesting.
For all the hype -- President Clinton was here a week ago, and they asked me about it. And I said, it is more interesting to me that when the president of the United States is literally just on the other side of the Saint Croix River in Minnesota in the Twin Cities, when he was about the same time in Chicago, just south of the Wisconsin border...
CAVUTO: Yes, was a Marine One trip away.
WALKER: Yes. I think it is really -- it’s kind of confusing, I think, to voters here, because they wonder why would you not come in?
Two years ago, my same -- same person I am running against now was my opponent back then. And he came in and campaigned for the mayor at that point. I think it is a sign there is real concern, what I have seen over the weekend, which are voters who tell me they voted for my opponent or they tell me they are Democrats, but in each case they tell me they are voting for me now either because they like the courage to take on the tough problems or a number of them who are Democrats tell me they do not like the recall process.
And my guess is the president and his folks just want to shy away from that.
CAVUTO: You know, what is weird, Governor? When I look at polls in your state that show you and the president roughly the same 50-plus percent approval ratings. That is weird.
Well, our state, like many in the Midwest, is fiercely independent. We are not strictly one party or the other. People like to vote for the person. And so I think some of it is driven by that.
And I think part of it now is, voters like that we were able to tackle these tough issues. Remember, it has been a year-and-a-half that I have been under siege. I mean, last February and March, the national special interests groups from Washington in particular came in and poured money attacking me, bringing in people to attack me.
It continued throughout the spring in the Supreme Court race, the state Senate recall elections in the summer, all throughout last fall into early this year, in terms of the recall petition itself. We have been under about a year-and-a-half’s worth of attacks, and yet we finally have gotten our numbers up above 50 percent, because the truth is on our side. When people hear the truth, when they see the facts, when they see that our reforms are working, then it’s tough...
CAVUTO: Well, your opponent says the reforms are not working. And then it’s a battle of how many jobs you have created vs. not created. Clearly, the unemployment rate has ticked down, 6.7 percent in the latest read.
So you are below the national average. And that is the wind at your back. But, regardless, if it is a close election, even with the wind at your and even if you win, close to half those likely voting, if that is the case, if you just go by polls, feel it is not good enough. What do you say?
WALKER: Well, I think it is part of that year-and-a-half’s worth of attacks.
If we are able move on and move forward after Tuesday’s election, I think we get back to where we started, which was, last January, overwhelmingly bipartisan support for our jobs initiatives. It was not until the national forces came in that you started to see a bit of a difference of opinion here.
If we get back to that, we start helping small business again. I mean, think about this. Two years ago, when I ran for governor, only 10 percent of our employers surveyed thought that Wisconsin was heading in the right direction. That same survey a couple of months ago was conducted for 2012; 94 percent of our employers said Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.
The biggest concern though they had on their list in terms of things that would keep them from hiring people in 2012 was the recall. They are concerned about the recall. They believe we are doing positive things. They believe we are moving the state forward. But they scared to death that if the mayor got in, he would take things backward. And we saw that before.
CAVUTO: When you say take things backward, that it would be union- friendly environment or that he would go back to collective bargaining rights, the kind of stuff unions disparage you...
WALKER: Oh, I think it’s even bigger than that.
I think if you go back to what the mayor wants to do to -- completely undoing our reforms, going back to the old collective bargaining system that is when a handful of big government union bosses were in charge at both the state and the local level.