Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is characterizing Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the reform candidates of the 2012 presidential election, whose straight talk about the issues confronting the nation will help pull independent and Democratic voters away from President Barack Obama.
As he prepares to address the Republican National Convention in Tampa tonight, Walker told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Monday evening that Ryan’s willingness to confront controversial topics like Medicare and the budget deficit has turned Romney into a more appealing presidential candidate.
“Since Paul Ryan is on the ticket, if people look at Mitt Romney and see him as not just the ‘R’ next to his name standing for Republican, but they see the ‘R’ standing for reformer, that’s enough to, say, [attract] independents and dissuade Democrats [from supporting Obama],” Walker said.
“We need independent swing voters and even a few of those so-called Reagan Democrats,” he added. “Mitt Romney can appeal to them even more so with Paul Ryan on the ticket, but he has to talk about reforms, be the clear contrast.”
Walker said Ryan, now serving his seventh term in Congress from Wisconsin, has already proven that he can win the independent and blue-collar vote, since his district is dominated to a large extent by union workers and voters who lean Democratic in presidential races.
“The voters, the unemployed UAW workers from the GM plant in Janesville — or the guys who worked in a factory there that traditionally vote Democrat — like his candor, think he’s a decent guy,” Walker said. “I think they’ll give him a look when it comes to him and Mitt Romney on the ticket.”
The governor also mentioned what he described as a new positive energy and optimistic outlook coming from the Romney-Ryan campaign that both men are so upbeat about the nation’s future, despite the poor economy and massive debt.
He called Ryan “such a positive guy,” noting that his attitude about politics and the nation’s ability to bounce back in times of difficulty stems from the fact that he “came of age” during the Reagan years.
“I think people will be surprised to see how upbeat he is. Maybe because we all came of the age back in the ‘80s when President Reagan was our nation's leader,” Walker added.
Turning to his speech later today, Walker said he plans to talk about the “the Wisconsin experience, because in many ways it’s what we face in America.”
The governor, who beat back a recall election earlier this year, said he inherited “an economic and fiscal crisis,” made some hard spending reduction and other decisions that have helped create a better business climate, more jobs, and an economy that is now “heading in the right direction.”
“I think we need that kind of turnaround in America, and Gov. Romney is exactly the guy to do that,” he said.
Walker acknowledged, however, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin, which is about 7.3 percent, could still be much better.
“We’re still hurting in our state like most states are,” he said. “Our unemployment rate is better than the national average, but it's still high.”
But he added: “We understood that people create jobs, not the government. That’s something I’m going to stress. . . . I think the current administration under President Obama really has this view that success is measured by how many people are dependent on the government.”
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