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Interviews

Gov. Scott Walker defends record against Trump attack

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 27, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, well, Donald Trump attacks, and now, here and only here, Governor Scott Walker responds.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CAVUTO: All of a sudden, you have been ensnared by Donald Trump. He built on what he already said, tweeting today that, "When people find out how bad a job Scott Walker has done in Wisconsin, they won’t be voting for him, massive deficit, bad jobs forecast, a mess."

What do you say?

(LAUGHTER)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WISC., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I will let Donald Trump speak for himself.

I’m not going to go after other candidates. I’m going to talk about what I’m for. You can look at my record. We had a $3.6 billion budget deficit we inherited. We turned it around. We cut taxes by $2 billion. Property taxes are lower today than when we took office. Our rainy day fund is 165 times bigger than when we took office.

Our pension is the only one fully funded in the country. Our schools are better. Our hospitals are better. Our state is better. I think, people look at the facts, they will say, if you can do all that in a blue state, we can definitely do it for America.

CAVUTO: What he is saying, as you know, Governor, is that it’s not all that, and that this surplus that you alluded to, the $2.6 billion that became the billion, and now he says is a deficit of more than $2 billion.
What do you say?

WALKER: Well, those are the -- interesting, because those are the Democrat talking points from earlier this year. They have stopped saying them because they have been proven to be wrong.

The budget that I just signed the other day actually finishes with a cash balance over the next two years, so it’s just inaccurate. But I guess, if you’re using old data from the Democrat talking points, that is one thing.
Again, I’m going to -- I’m going to talk about what I’m for. I invite people to look at our record.

We have turned things around. We have the lowest bond level that we have had, overall bonding in 20 years. Our finances are in good shape. Our bond rating is strong. I’m here today in the state of Illinois, which obviously has just the opposite approach. And when it comes to jobs, when I came in, I had a unemployment rate of over 8 percent. Today, it’s down to 4.6 percent.

My labor participation rate, the rate at which people are working, is about five points higher than the nation as a whole. So, I think people look at that and say, in a tough, tough state to govern in, we have done all that.
We can do it for America.

CAVUTO: I think what precipitated a lot of this is one of your campaign staffers -- I don’t know who, Governor -- had apparently called Donald Trump a dum-dum. And hell hath no fury like taking a zinger at Donald Trump.

WALKER: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: What did you make of that?

WALKER: Well, the point on that, it was a volunteer, one person who was literally sending out e-mails about an event coming up.

The volunteer, not a member of my staff -- certainly, I don’t say that. My paid staff doesn’t say that, as you just heard me say, and not just about Trump, but about any of the other senators, governors, former governors, businesspeople. I think I’m more than anybody is in the race have been consistent saying I’m not going to talk about others.

I’m going to talk about what I’m for. If I’m going to take anybody on, it’s going to be Hillary Clinton, because you look under this Obama-Clinton doctrine, we’re heading in the wrong direction. I’m going to lay out the plan where we take our country going forward. And I don’t need to pick on other Republicans to do that.

CAVUTO: Are you surprised he is surging, that even in a state you were winning hands down like Iowa -- polls are fleeting, as you always remind me, Governor -- but he leads there now in these latest polls.

WALKER: Oh, I think, in the end, that people are frustrated with Washington. They say, hey, we elected a Republican House, a Republican Senate. There’s a bit of frustration, understandably, amongst the Republican base.

We don’t have a bill on the president’s desk to repeal Obamacare. They have not gotten rid of Dodd-Frank. They have not taken on the illegal immigration language that the president took on early this year. It took me and 24 other governors to stop it in the courts. There’s still a vote on the Export-Import Bank.

I think, you look at all of those things, there’s a legitimate level of concern out there, and so people are reacting to that. But I think if people look at the facts and say, yes, it’s one thing to fight, but only one candidate of all the great Republicans, only one has fought and won, not just won elections, but actually won on the commonsense conservative values that matter, and I am that candidate. And I hope people will come our way.

CAVUTO: Do you think that maybe it is something in water, Governor? But a lot of your colleagues in this presidential race are saying some pretty incredible stuff.

Now, Mike Huckabee was just accused by President Obama today of going a step too far with the famous Iranian deal comment that he is bringing Israel to the door of the oven by signing a nuclear agreement with Iran.

Do you think that that was a bit much, that Governor Huckabee should not have said that?

WALKER: Oh, again, I will let other candidates speak for themselves, whether it’s Governor Huckabee, Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz, you name it. I get asked all the time.

I just tell people what I’m for. And in this case, I have spoken out very clearly against the Iran deal. I have said it’s incredibly dangerous not only for Israel, but for America and for the world. I would terminate it on day one. I would reinstate the sanctions, go to the Congress, convince them to put even morning crippling ones and start working the day after the election with our allies, make sure they do that.

I think people want to hear what you’re for, what actions you’re going to take. And that’s where I’m going to stay focused.

CAVUTO: Do you think that the media does -- and I guess I’m guilty of it as well, Governor -- that they focus on this internecine battle between all of you guys, and it gives some in the media a chance to pounce on those maybe the left fears developing or getting some traction, that in your, case I’m reminded of a Chicago Tribune story the other day saying of you, that you are -- are the danger, not Donald Trump.

Now, it goes on to say -- this analytical piece, which strikes me as an editorial -- that he is not, referring to you, "as dangerous as Donald Trump and Senator Cruz, but his technique of scapegoating unions for the nation’s ills is no less demagogic." It goes on to say that, "Sixty-five years ago, another man from Wisconsin made himself a national reputation by frightening the country," going on to talk of you being another Joe McCarthy.

What did you think of that?

WALKER: Well, in the end, I’m used to -- as you know -- you have been up to Wisconsin. You have seen it firsthand. The big government special interests, the powerful special interests, the union bosses and others, they will stop at nothing and all their supporters out there. They brought
100,000 protesters into our state to try and intimidate us, to back it down.

There were death threats and protests and the recall, and then the number one target in the America and the reelections, but we didn’t back down.
And we won, not just amongst Republicans. We won overwhelmingly amongst independents because in the end what people want more than anything is leadership. We weren’t looking to scapegoat. We were looking to transfer power from the big government special interests and put it firmly into the hands of the hardworking taxpayers.

(CROSSTALK)

WALKER: I think that’s what people want in Washington.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: That has brought you to the top of the Republican heap, or always one or two or three in that grouping.

Anthony Scaramucci, who has a big fund-raiser for you, obviously works at FOX here, he was saying that he thinks the whole Donald Trump thing is helping you and that it is providing a stark comparison. I think I got the gist of that right. Governor, what do you think of that?

WALKER: Well, I think, in the end, we’re going to be steady.

We’re going to be not just in Iowa, New Hampshire, which is important to me, and South Carolina, Nevada. We’re in a bunch of the early -- other early states in March. I’m in Illinois today. I was in Missouri yesterday, North Carolina the other day. I had to cut short a visit to New Hampshire and North Carolina sadly Saturday because I went home to be with the family of one of the Marines that died in Chattanooga, was from Wisconsin.

But I think this is one of those where steady as you go. We showed we didn’t get worked up when the protesters came. We’re not going get worked up when the media...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: But you have to be -- but, Governor, you have to be surprised. I have talked to a lot of your colleagues, Rick Perry among them, who has had the strongest criticism for Donald Trump, saying he is a cancer on conservative. Do you agree with that?

WALKER: Again, I will let other candidates speak for themselves.

I -- everything I go -- I was just at a Harley-Davidson dealership, Chuck’s Harley-Davidson in Bloomington, Illinois, not too far from Peoria, and what is the old line? If it plays in Peoria, it can play anywhere. I was just down the way from there and Normal and Bloomington.

And when I said I’m going to talk about what I’m for, not who I’m against, every head in that place nodded, because people want -- they’re tired of the attacks. They’re tired of the pushback. They want to know what are you for or what are you going to do.

It’s what drew me to Ronald Reagan. It wasn’t just that he was a conservative Republican. It was that he was an eternal optimist for the American people. People want that kind of leadership.

CAVUTO: All bets must be off in that regard, Governor.

The reason why I mentioned it, because Donald Trump is going after everybody. Then you can get Perry going after him and others going after him and Lindsey Graham going after him. And there’s a lot of that breaking of the Reagan rule, to your point. I guess what I’m worried about is -- and I think what these guys are saying they’re worried about is, it’s damaging the party.

Do you think it’s damaging the party? Reince Priebus has gone so far to argue, as the Republican National Committee head, that he wants candidates to sign a loyalty pledge that they won’t bolt or form a third party or join a third party effort, I think in reference to Donald Trump’s threat to do that.

Do you agree with that approach, that all of your colleagues should sign onto that?

WALKER: I think, in the end, the American voters are smart enough to know where voters -- where candidates stand on the issues. And they’re not going to confuse my position on something as long as I’m out telling people what I’m for.

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: I know that. But are you -- would you sign such a pledge, Governor?

WALKER: Oh, I think absolutely. I’m running to be the Republican nominee.
I’m not running for the title. I’m running because I want to turn this country around. And I believe the Republican Party best matches up to my beliefs and my values out there.

And I certainly would hope that anyone running as a Republican would want to do that, the same way Democrats should want to be supportive of the Democrat. I’m running in that regard because I think Barack Obama has taken this country in the wrong path and Hillary Clinton will just be a third term of Barack Obama’s failed policies. And the best way to counter that is with a strong Republican nominee.

And I hope people agree with that and go to ScottWalker.com and join us.

CAVUTO: All right. So, if you were the nominee, would you consider Donald Trump among your possible running mates?

WALKER: Well, two weeks into the election, it’s pretty presumptuous for me to talk about running mates.

(LAUGHTER)

WALKER: I got to earn the vote of the American people.

My number one criteria would be I want someone who is capable of being the president of the United States, because God forbid if something were to happen, I want someone who could step up.

CAVUTO: Do you think he is? Do you think he is capable of being president?

WALKER: Well, I think this process for any of the candidates will be helpful for whenever the nominee is to see how people perform under pressure. And that’s what I will be watching.

CAVUTO: All right. So, let me ask you this.

He refers to his wealth as he can pay his own way. He can buy a bunch of people, pulled pork sandwiches at an Iowa event, and do a lot of the things that maybe are difficult for you to do or your colleagues to pull off.
Even though you have got a good deal of money, you don’t have Donald Trump kind of money. And with that kind of money comes a great deal of influence and a way and a freedom that he will enjoy that you do not.

What do you think of that?

WALKER: Oh, you know what? I heard a guy in New Hampshire say something to me. It wasn’t just about him. It was about one of the other candidates that has got a lot of money.

He said it well in New Hampshire. He said, in the end, you need to earn the vote. You can’t buy the vote. And I think all the money in the world can’t win an election if the message isn’t right and people aren’t right with it.

I’m proud of my background. I’m proud of the fact that years ago I worked for the American Red Cross. I’m proud I worked at IBM to pay for college.
And I’m proud I flipped hamburgers at McDonald’s some 30 years ago to pay for college when I was saving up as a high school student.

I’m proud over the fact that my mom was a part-time secretary and my dad was a small-town preacher. Those are my roots and my parents, my grandparents, who came from humble roots, taught me that more than fame or for fortune, the best thing you can get is the belief that you can do and be anything you want in America. I want to make sure everything has that belief. That’s the American dream.

CAVUTO: So, real quickly, Governor, I know you are trying to dismiss these attacks, whatever you want to call them, but your wife, your sons, when they hear them, how do they feel? Do they share your sort of nonchalant view or do they get really upset?

WALKER: After the death threats I went through and the attacks against my family, a few comments here and there from a Republican, a fellow Republican running really doesn’t faze anybody in my family or anybody in my circle of advisers.

When you have had people threat to gut one of your family members like a deer or to have me be the first governor in Wisconsin history assassinated and tell them where my wife worked and tell me where my kids went to school, things like this are nothing compared to that. We got through it through the grace of God and a lot of prayer. We will get through any of this.

CAVUTO: Scott Walker, thank you very much.

WALKER: Good to be with you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CAVUTO: All right.

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