Interviews

Gov. McDonnell: Romney could win Wisconsin

Virginia governor on Walker's recall win, 2012 race

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 6, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, it could be Governor Mitt Romney riding on the coattails of Governor Scott Walker, lots of Republicans predicting Wisconsin could be in play right now after Walker's stunning victory big recall last night.

But a Fox News exit poll shows that Romney is still trailing the president in the Badger State.

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell one of those Republicans saying these numbers could flip come November.

What do you think of that, though, Governor? Because it's interesting that the president and Governor Walker enjoyed similar approval ratings in the state. I guess that bespeaks of why the president avoided the state, to avoid ticking people off, but it would still be a tough road for a Republican to win this state.

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL, R-VA.: Well, sure.

It has been a blue state, Neil, for a while. By the way, the president did fly from Minnesota to Illinois, and decided not to go to Wisconsin last week, which I think says something about what they thought about the campaign.

But what I do think is that the issues that Scott Walker campaigned on -- and that is being honest with people about the need to rein in spending and cut taxes and create jobs and have a commonsense fiscal policy -- those are the same issues that Mitt Romney's going to campaigning on against Barack Obama.

And so, I do think that it's going to have some impact down the road. The other thing, Neil, is that the turnout was extraordinarily high. There's a lot of enthusiasm with the Republican base, the coalitions of the Republican Governors Association that I chair donating $9 million.

The Americans for Prosperity, the NRA, all these groups on the ground I think really says that our turnout mechanism really surpassed that of the unions. And that';s a positive thing that could mean a couple points in a Romney win.

CAVUTO: When I spoke to Governor Walker about this whole phenomenon, what was going on, the one thing he kept mentioning again and again to me is that Wisconsin is part of a trend, and this is now an accepted trend to go after spending abuses. Is it?

MCDONNELL: Absolutely.

Neil, you know our country is in deep trouble. We are the greatest country on Earth, but we are $15 trillion in debt. The president's run up another $1 trillion a year-plus, and we do not have a coherent plan to create more jobs and opportunity to get us out of debt.

In fact, his budget gets it another $10 trillion in the next decade. So, absolutely, spending has got to be reined in, or we are going to be in deeper trouble in America. And that is a significant issue that Romney is going to prosecute in the battle against Obama, because he has had no plan to get us out of debt.

Scott Walker said, elect me, I will kill a $3.6 billion budget deficit without raising taxes, and that's what he did. And now the reforms are working, creating jobs and eliminating debt, same thing that Mitt Romney's going to be talking about for November.

CAVUTO: But maybe -- and I know you -- hope springs eternal. You hope the state goes red, but maybe we're reading too much into this.

Sir, I bumped into a lot of Wisconsinites, many of whom who had not supported Governor Walker in his original election who did now because they were just so incensed about the whole recall process, that it wasn't necessary, it was a waste of money, et cetera, et cetera, but that they are still Democrat at heart, and they are not about to flip. How do you win those guys over?

(CROSSTALK)

MCDONNELL: Well, I think there's some sentiment there. There's no question there's recall fatigue in Wisconsin.

CAVUTO: Absolutely.

MCDONNELL: I mean, Neil, this was the third recall -- the third recall in a year, the judge, then the legislature and now the lieutenant governor.

Of course, it was a debate about policy. That is not what you recall people about. So there's no question that that was some of it. But what I say, it's a combination of, one, the grassroots, secondly, the significant financial resources that were marshaled for Walker and that will also be marshaled for Romney because of his support for the American dream and the free enterprise system, and, third, because the issues are largely the same, that the majority of those Wisconsin voters voted for Walker because his reforms, while they might have appeared unpopular a year ago, they're working. More jobs. Lower taxes. A balanced budget. I think that when you get results, people reward you, and those issues are going to be the same things Romney will be talking about against Obama -- 8 percent unemployment rate in America, $15 trillion in debt, Romney's going to go after Obama on that, and rightly so. And same thing Wisconsin voters I think elected Walker on last night give him a chance to win.

But it';s tough. It's a blue state. And I think Walker win does help him, though.

CAVUTO: Your state turned blue last go-round in 2008. I guess its purple now or whatever they...

(CROSSTALK)

MCDONNELL: I'd call it purple.

CAVUTO: Yes. How is it looking right now?

MCDONNELL: Neil, since Obama won -- and, look, he had a ton of money, doubled McCain's money. He ran on an uplifting, positive message of hope and change, which now has turned into recession and division with the campaign he's running right now.

But I'd say that since then, I won by 18 points and we elected three new congressman, the highest number of legislators in the General Assembly history Republican last November. I think we're returning to our right-of-center roots. It's a dead heat right now.

Romney was down eight points just a couple months ago. It's now a dead heat. And the more you compare Romney's vision with Obama's abysmal record on jobs and taxes and energy, the better it gets for Mitt Romney. I'm encouraged and we're going to win Virginia.

CAVUTO: All right, but maybe Mitt Romney needs a Virginian on his ticket. What do you think?

MCDONNELL: Well, there's a lot of them. There's eight million to choose from.

(LAUGHTER)

MCDONNELL: We can find one if he needs one.

CAVUTO: All right.

MCDONNELL: But, hey, look, I'm going to help him win in Virginia because I believe we need new leadership for America.

CAVUTO: All right, Governor, people forget you started that wave when all this turnover was going on.

Governor McDonnell, thank you very much.

MCDONNELL: OK. Neil, keep up the good work. Thanks.

CAVUTO: Thank you, sir.

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