Lt. Gov. Kleefisch: We will move Wisconsin forward

Rebecca Kleefisch on fight to keep her job


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," June 5, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Now with us, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch.

Keep in mind what is odd about is she is being recalled as well as part of this process. And, normally, they elect in most states, as in this state, their governor and lieutenant governor together. There is an anomaly, though, here in Wisconsin that, in a recall battle, the lieutenant governor was telling me they never addressed something like this.

So we could have a situation where you have a governor of one party and a lieutenant governor of another. Right?

LT. GOV. REBECCA KLEEFISCH, R-WIS.: Well, we do not think that is going to happen.

By the way, welcome to Wisconsin on this historic day.

CAVUTO: Very good. By the way, my thanks to you.

Right after I said Waukesha, the lieutenant governor leaned over to me and said, "Neil, you (INAUDIBLE) it is Waukesha."

KLEEFISCH: As a former news anchor, I know what that is like. So, welcome.

CAVUTO: Now I know. Now I know.

And that's where you guys are going to be tonight, right?

KLEEFISCH: We are going to be in Waukesha.


KLEEFISCH: Waukesha County is the most conservative county and we will have incredible voter turnout today.

We are really looking forward to celebrating tonight. We think it is going to be a very good day. We're cautiously optimistic. But we know that we are going to have votes coming from all over Wisconsin.


CAVUTO: You are confident. The governor is saying he's confident. But what do you make again of this issue where there is the possibility, let's say the governor gets in, but you don't.

KLEEFISCH: I don't think it is going to happen.

And I will tell you why. We have very passionate voters today on both sides of the political aisle. But because of that passion and because of the energy of our electorate, we do not anticipate all that many crossover votes. And we believe that tomorrow we are going to wake up and hopefully we will have an executive branch intact and we will be able to continue to move Wisconsin forward.

CAVUTO: Let's say you and either you are both victorious or you're defeated. I know you want to see the former, not the latter, but what if it is really close either way or what if these four Senate seats that are up for grabs, any of them go, the Senate tips? In other words, either side can claim victory or drag this out or there could be, God forbid, recalls.

There are already people and SWAT teams of lawyers I guess on the other side coming in to the state. The Department of Justice is already monitoring this. I don't know what that means. But what is going on here?

KLEEFISCH: Well, what is going on is a battle between big public employee union bosses, mostly from outside of Wisconsin, and the taxpayers, we, the people. We have seen so many...

CAVUTO: But you guys have forces outside of Wisconsin, too. A lot of your money has been coming from outside Wisconsin, right?

KLEEFISCH: Well, you have to understand though that our big special interest opponents have spent a year-and-a-half now trying to vilify the governor, trying to say that these wins, these victories that we have had that should be owned by all of Wisconsin do not belong to all of Wisconsin.

They are trying to separate the voters of Wisconsin, the families, the taxpayers. And that is just not true, because I will tell you what. We did a $3.6 billion deficit; we fixed it without raising taxes. That is a victory owned by everyone in this state.

CAVUTO: So, Governor, when union chieftains with whom I chat over the last couple of days said you did it at their expense, what do you say?

KLEEFISCH: Well, what I say is we were facing some really tough decisions. And we didn't have to just fix that $3.6 billion budget deficit. We also had to look out into the future.

I have two little girls, they're 6 and 9, and we know that the cost drivers of the future in Wisconsin, the same as any other state in the country, the same as our federal government, health care costs are rising, and pension costs. We know that baby boomers are about to retire. The first of baby boomers hit age 65 not this, but last January.

You needed to look out into the future and address those things. But how do you do that?

CAVUTO: Do you think, though, Governor, do you think, in retrospect, though, you could have handled it differently?


CAVUTO: A lot of union households say, well, they never said that they would completely revisit, if not wipe out collective bargaining.

I know you and the governor say that is not what you have done, but that they said you did things that you said you wouldn't do during the campaign.

KLEEFISCH: Well, that is not true, but I want to go back and explain really quick what we did ask our public employees to do when we addressed those problems. We asked them to just pay a share, much like folks do in the private sector every day and have for years, just a share of their own benefits, because you can't have your public employees...


CAVUTO: No, I understand that, but did the collective bargaining thing really come up? Did it come up where you would seriously look at changing that?

KLEEFISCH: Well, collective bargaining, as you know, in Wisconsin was fiscal; it was financial, because, see, in this city, where we stand right now, we had a bus driver, city bus driver making $150,000 a year because of collective bargaining because of overtime.

CAVUTO: Right.

KLEEFISCH: We saw school districts all across Wisconsin who were forced to buy their health insurance from their employees from essentially just one company associated with the teachers union.

CAVUTO: But you seem to intimate before, Governor, that maybe in retrospect you could have done a couple of things differently. The other side says the same, by the way, but go ahead.

KLEEFISCH: Yes. We could have done -- Neil, what we could have done is we could have explained all those things for longer and better before we actually made the changes, before our legislature voted on it, because I think if people understood that they could have saved tens of millions just by putting health insurance out for a bid, then they would have said, gosh, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, you have fixed that.

CAVUTO: But if it's tight, Governor, let's say you do prevail tonight and the governor prevails tonight, and even these senators, the four Republicans up for a vote tonight survive, and it is close, won't the ill will last? In other words, how do you get past this?

Because, what is -- this is the seventh election we have had in this process? I mean, where does it end?

KLEEFISCH: It ends tonight.

It ends tonight because after tonight, we move forward as a state. We focus on creating jobs together as a state. We start to put our livelihoods of our neighbors in front of politics in that building right behind us. We start to move...

CAVUTO: There are supposed to be a lot of protests in this building.

KLEEFISCH: Well, we start to move Wisconsin forward by creating jobs...


CAVUTO: But they are already planning protests now.

KLEEFISCH: Why are they planning protests?

CAVUTO: Why do you think?

KLEEFISCH: Well, I think they're planning protests because they believe and they understand that our reforms have worked.

Our reforms have worked.


CAVUTO: They're not going to accept that victory well.

KLEEFISCH: Well, I hope that everyone in this state can rally around the idea of creating jobs together because that is not political at all. We don't want Republican jobs or Democrat jobs. We are for Wisconsin jobs.

CAVUTO: All right.

And do you know how to pronounce Waukesha now, because I can't keep telling you this, all right?

Governor, thank you.

KLEEFISCH: Welcome to Wisconsin.

CAVUTO: All right. Very good. Thank you very, very much, Lieutenant Governor.

KLEEFISCH: Back come back any time.

CAVUTO: I love it here.

KLEEFISCH: Tourism is up 8 percent.

CAVUTO: Well, they enjoyed seeing me down in the street yesterday.


CAVUTO: That was kind of telling.

KLEEFISCH: Water park capital of the world here.

CAVUTO: Is it really?

KLEEFISCH: It is, the Wisconsin Dells. Come on back.

CAVUTO: A lot of people wanted to see me in a water park yesterday.

Governor, thank you very, very much.

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