OTR Interviews

Wis. Gov. Walker: Obama 'Should Focus on the Facts and Stop Worrying About Beating People Up'

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 14, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Did you hear about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker? He was a star witness today on Capitol Hill. The governor was called to testify at a House hearing. Today, Governor Walker went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, nice to see you.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R- WIS.: Good to be here.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why are you here in Washington?

WALKER: I testified in front of one of the committees in the House and Congress and talked about the reforms we put in place to make government work better and they loved hearing about it.

VAN SUSTEREN: If the collective bargaining goes through, does this mean there will be no layoffs for teachers?

WALKER: It depends on the district. Districts that invoke those tools, you are not going to see massive lay-offs. We can't guarantee every school district, but the massive layoffs you see in other state across the country will be avoided because of these reforms.

VAN SUSTEREN: Right now it is hung up in the courts so it is not in effect, right, the collective bargaining?

WALKER: I signed the bill into law almost a month ago. The circuit court has held it up because of a technicality. It is not a matter of if, but when it becomes law and that should be soon.

VAN SUSTEREN: I take it you want to have it soon.

WALKER: The sooner we can do it -- we did this as part of a budget repair bill for the fiscal year we did it to set it up for the next budget. We faced a $3.6 billion dollar deficit this allows us to save 1.7 billion dollars that more than offsets cuts we have in spending to local governments.

VAN SUSTEREN: Explain to me, in light of that, the big [thing] in the court system is not giving up -- know the toys, your opponents. Why don't we just run back in, you have your quorum, the assembly, house and the Senate and you're going to sign it. Why not go back into court and do it? You can have it done in three days?

WALKER: The belief among the lawmakers [is] what they did is legal and by backtracking that implies they didn't. For any attorney I've found other than those working for -- believe whether you agree with the law or not, they believe what the state Senate did was legal.

VAN SUSTEREN: But your hands are tied. Had you don't that you would have this tool that you think is so important.

WALKER: Our great concern was and for some reason if it off until June that would be a different matter they would have to consider bringing it up in the state budget which is the next spot we could act and realistically on and get it through. In this case if it gets resolved this week or income book we are in good shape.

VAN SUSTEREN: Then it goes to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

WALKER: If the circuit court rules it was legitimate -- I'm an optimist. I think the judge knows it is right and just wanted to not deal with it. I think the law is clear if the judge in the circuit court rules that way, we are in good shape.

VAN SUSTEREN: If you lose in the circuit court are you going back in immediately?

WALKER: I think we have to look at that there has been good standing on the basis the law was followed. People may interpret what they like, but you interpret what is there in black and white. It shows what they did was legitimate.

VAN SUSTEREN: The big question is Wisconsin is a swing state. I think people thought with your election that might mean 2012 would be a Republican state. But in light of the collective bargaining you have the situation where Justice Prosser was about 30 points up before in fight, now it is neck-and-neck and there is still no resolution in the Supreme Court and your old seat, has gone Democratic, is that a statement that the Democrats have come back in your state?

WALKER: No. This has always been a swing state, about as purple a state it can get. In even in the gubernatorial election, the United States Senate, each was close.

VAN SUSTEREN: There's also an ordinance coming out of Milwaukee in which a private ordinance said private businesses large and small had to give a certain number of sick days per year, nine days for large corporation five or something if you are small. Now there's a bill that coming to you that says gets rid of that ordinance. Are you anti-labor?

WALKER: No. I'm pro-worker. We just had great new job numbers come out for the third month in a row. We did that because we changed the business climate in Wisconsin. We made it friendly for small businesses, particularly for manufacturers. I want people to work.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why get into that private dispute? Collective bargaining is about state employees.

WALKER: Two different things. Milwaukee will become an island and employers will move out. Something I'm not saying my former opponent, the Milwaukee mayor of raised the same concerns. He registered his opposition to the measure we it first came out he asked for relief from the legislature and government, he like the business community and others recognize if they don't fix this, the side effect is not going to be people granted more sick leave days it is going to be fewer people having jobs. We can't afford to have anybody in the state of Wisconsin having fewer jobs.

VAN SUSTEREN: In your testimony today you referred to your budget as progressive.

WALKER: In the best sense of the word.

VAN SUSTEREN: Are you tweaking Wisconsin history?

WALKER: It is progressive.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why use that word?

WALKER: I had fun with that. Tommy Thompson had welfare and education reform. Bill Clinton welfare reform came because of Tommy Thompson leading way in the 90s. We are pushing budgetary reform that will put more people to work, because all this talk about the mid 8 class from the labor and unions, the reality is middle class taxpayers get stuck with paying for more and more governments. Finally it's time someone says we have to draw the line middle class can't pay for that any more.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think about Congressman Ryan being seated yesterday in the front row and have the president sort of whack his plan?

WALKER: Paul Ryan -- two things. Paul Ryan is one of the most politically courageous people I've seen. I think it would serve us all well if Democrats and Republicans had more courage like him to move this country forward. He's thinking about the next generation not just the next election, and that is critically important in this time.

When it comes to the president he stuck his nose in our battle over our budget deficit when obviously there's a much larger crisis at the federal level. I pointed out the second time he stuck his nose in our debate that obviously the president must know that federal employees other than postal workers do not have collective bargaining for wages and benefits and pay twice as much for their benefits.

The president should focus on the facts and stop worrying about beating people up. You want to bring people together, then put out a plan that has courage. At least have the courage to defend your plan instead of attacking others.