Republican political strategist Karl Rove is predicting a significant win for Gov. Scott Walker in the Wisconsin recall election June 5, saying it could presage GOP victories in battleground states across the country in the November elections.
“It’s going to be an all-out war between now and the election day,” Rove said Wednesday night on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.”
“I think Gov. Walker is well positioned to win, and the question is by how much,” he said. “The bigger the victory, the bigger the impact.”
Rove, who engineered former President George W. Bush’s two presidential victories, described Walker’s “Wisconsin experiment of reining in the power of collective bargaining rights” for public employee unions to help bring state spending under control “a model for the rest of the country.”
“If he survives [the recall election] other states will be emboldened to take up this banner of reform,” Rove added.
He also said a Walker victory would make Wisconsin a key state in the presidential contest between presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
Obama won the state by 14 points in 2008. But he said Walker had changed the political dynamics by challenging the unions and Democrats, who stood in opposition to most of his reform efforts.
If Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Walker’s Democratic challenger, ends up losing in the recall, Rove said it would be a major setback for unions that are spending millions on effort to drive Walker out.
Walker, who also appeared on the program, touted his efforts to create new jobs, pointing to figures showing the state has added at least 23,000 jobs since he took office. He credited his budget and economic reform efforts with creating a better environment for job growth in the state.
“We've lowered the tax burden. Property taxes went down for the first time in 12 years in this state,” Walker said. “We changed the high cost of litigation and regulation in the state.
“We've done things to create a better business environment,” he added, citing a statewide Chamber of Commerce survey of employers showing that 87 percent of them believe the state is “heading in the right direction.”
The governor said he believes the state is now suffering from “recall fatigue,” which may be one reason he predicted a victory over Barrett.
“I think there's a lot of at least discerning Democrats on the margin out there who realize this is a big waste of time and money,” he said. “This is $16 million, almost $17 million out of the taxpayers' pockets that could otherwise be spent lowering taxes or providing relief for seniors or needy families in this state, or education. And instead, we've seen it wasted by the folks who want to rehash the  election.”
But Walker acknowledged that the recall had taught him an important lesson — to build public support for his reform and policy efforts before trying to push them through.
“If I had it to do over again, I would probably spend more time building the foundation for support,” he told Van Susteren.
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