His job is on the line for stripping most public workers of their collective-bargaining rights, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is sounding confident about his chances in the recall election today, saying he isn’t nervous because “we did the right thing.”
“We did it for the right reasons. Now it’s up to the voters,” the Republican said in an interview Monday night with Fox News’s Greta Van Susteren.
“We dared to go where nobody else has dared before. And that is to say to the big government union bosses, who control things . . . you’re not in charge anymore,” Walker added later when pressed to explain why he is only the third governor in U.S. history to have his election recalled by the voters.
The outcome in Wisconsin is expected to have a big impact on this fall’s presidential race. Republicans have outspent the Democrats to make it the centerpiece of their fight not only at the state level but in their efforts to put Mitt Romney in the White House.
Walker acknowledged in the interview that most of the $31 million raised for his recall campaign against Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett came from outside the state.
But he said the bulk of the individual donations were $50 or less from like-minded people interested in protecting taxpayer money and standing up to unions and other special interests.
“There are people around the state, and around the Midwest in particular, who understand that when someone stands up against these powerful special interests, stands up for the taxpayers, that people need to stand up with them,” he said, referring to the out-of-state contributors.
Asked if he thought the recall would turn out to be a referendum on unions, Walker said it was simply about, “Who’s in Charge?” as he put it.
“Is it the big government, special interests out there? Is it the people who’ve control both state and local governments here in Wisconsin and across the country, or is it the hardworking taxpayers?” he asked. “We stood up and took on those special interests.”
Walker said now it’s time for “all the people over the years who’ve complained” about elected officials not keeping their word and making tough decisions “to stand up and affirm it.”
The governor predicted that he would draw support from not only his strong Republican base, but independents and Democrats as well who want something done to rein in government spending and give taxpayers a break.
He said the support he’s drawing from Democrats is one reason President Barack Obama did not campaign in the state with Barrett.
“I think the White House and some of the political allies of the president are scared that somehow, if they get in the mix of this and their candidate doesn’t win, that might be a sign that would have an impact on the fall elections,” he said.
Walker said it he wins the recall, it would also present “an opportunity” for Romney to “make the case that he’s willing to make those same sorts of tough decisions” as president to get the nation’s debt under control and the economy back on track.
“He makes that a centerpiece of saying: ‘You know what, we’re going to look out for the next generation,’” he said. “I think he could do very well amongst voters, not only Republicans but a lot of discerning Democrats and independents in this state.”
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