Gov. Scott Walker questions Obama's foreign policy

Wisconsin governor on why the admin's approach is under fire


This is a rush transcript from "The Kelly File," January 22, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

MEGYN KELLY, HOST: Back with all the news breaking tonight across the Middle East.

It was just 48 hours ago that President Obama stood in front of America and said we had turned the page on our security in a speech that never mentioned any threat from Al Qaeda. Then today the government of Yemen, which was an ally, collapses. A group that likes to chant "death to America" has taken over, and now they are evacuating some of the personnel from our embassy in a country the President recently called a success story.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We've targeted Al Qaeda's affiliate in Yemen and recently eliminated the top commander of its affiliate in Somalia.

The strategy of taking out terrorists who threaten us while supporting partners on the front lines is one that we have successfully pursued in Yemen and Somalia for years.  


KELLY: The president went onto claim that Iran's nuclear program had been halted, a statement The Washington Post today greeted with three Pinocchios for accuracy.

And that comes as even top Democrats are slamming the White House for going too easy on Iran.  


SEN. BOB MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: The more I hear from the administration and its quotes, the more it sounds like talking points that come straight out of Tehran.  


KELLY: Ironically it was one year ago this week that President Obama dismissed the Islamic State terror army as JV -- junior varsity -- downplaying the threat from a group that now controls major parts of both Iraq and Syria.

Joining me now to discuss it, Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin.  Governor, good to see you tonight, sir.

And so, I know you believe that it comes down to you say, the most important thing on foreign policy is leadership. But how did the president fail to lead in these areas in your view?

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: Well, it's very concerning -- you took the words right out of my mouth talking about the JV reference from nearly a year ago. This is a president who the other night we've talked about turning the page, you talked about the shadow of crisis having passed. I think any of us who watched what's happened around the world not just the last 48 hours but the last few weeks, in France, any time you have freedom loving people anywhere around the world who are under attack by radical Islamic terrorists, it's a threat to all of us. We need a president who threats us seriously. We send mixed messages to Israel at the same time this administration is seemingly opening its arms to Iran. I think that's a huge mistake. And we need to speak with one voice aligned with our allies and ready to speak out against any who would threaten not only American lives but any other innocent life around the world.  

KELLY: Let's talk about Iran. Let's talk about Iran. I want the viewers to know that obviously you are considered a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

WALKER: Uh-huh.  

KELLY: And some have said, well, you know, one of his faults -- this is from somebody at AUW Madison -- political science professor says, his biggest limitation will be his experience on foreign policy. He didn't serve in the military. He's really had an occasion to comment on foreign affairs.  

Well, here's your opportunity. Iran -- what should the president be doing?  His position is, we're not going to go over and bomb Iran. The American people don't want to bomb Iran. So, what is our choice? We should sanction them? We've done that. But before we just keep loading on the sanctions and while the sanctions we already had on are having some effect, let's sit down and see if we can get them to agree to something.  

WALKER: Well, I just don't agree with that. I think you've seen while we bought them some time, this latest video that you just talked about in the first segment shows exactly why opening the door to relieving sanctions is a bad idea. That's not a Republican or conservative idea.  There are plenty of Democrats in the House and the Senate who share that same sentiment. And the problem I mentioned that you allude to beginning about leadership. It goes back to one of the best examples of leadership in this regard didn't come from a foreign policy expert, at least not early on in his tenure, it came from Ronald Reagan in the early days of his presidency in the early 1980s when he took action against the air traffic controllers. That sent a powerful message not only domestically, it sent a message around the world both to our allies that this president was serious and could be trusted. If not more importantly sent a message to our adversaries at the time, the Soviet Union and Iran ironically that this president was serious and they shouldn't mess with him. We need a president who's serious again.

KELLY: How about Yemen? I mean, I think most people realize Yemen is sort of a hot mess. It's not a complete shock that there's anarchy there.  And yet the State Department seemed to be very caught on guard about this whole thing in a country where our worst enemy -- the Al Qaeda branch in Yemen is the worst and most lethal according to the experts when it comes to America. So why wouldn't we be watching it more carefully? It's what the critics say. On the other hand, Governor, on the other hand, how are we supposed to control the internal politics of a country like that?

WALKER: Well, and the first part though, I think this goes to part of a pattern. Unfortunately we saw even a little bit in France with that administration currently in charge as well where they were tracking some of the very people who appear to be responsible for those awful attacks against innocent individuals there.

When you have an administration whether it's the United States or France or anywhere else who doesn't take seriously the threats, who doesn't invest the resources needed to take those threats seriously, you open the door to chaos. And I think that's just something we all should have learned after 9/11. It's not a matter of if they'll be attempts, it's a matter of when. And we need to be prepared here and around the world to make sure the fight doesn't come to us, that we take the fight to them. Whether it's in Yemen, whether it's in Iran, whether it's anywhere else out there. There's a concerted effort that if we want to protect our families, our children, our livelihood here in the United States, we've got to be prepared to act elsewhere.  

KELLY: Last question, when are we going to get an announcement from Governor Scott Walker on whether he's running for president?

WALKER: Well, like a lot of other people out there, we're seriously looking. One of the reasons why I'm looking is much like I did in 2009, I was afraid that my sons were going to grow up in a state that wasn't as great as the one I grew up in. Thankfully my state is better in more than four years later. But today I have those same worries about this country and so probably by this summer we'll have to make a decision one way or the other. And if so, we'll talk about how to make this nation a better nation not only for my sons but for all those in their generation and those yet to be born.  

KELLY: Well we look forward to keeping that conversation going.  Governor, good to see you tonight.  

WALKER: Thank you, Megyn.  

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