Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker emerged from a political pageant in Iowa over the weekend looking like a contender for the presidency in 2016 — but now the real work begins, publisher and former Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes told Newsmax TV
A strong political profile and a standout performance at the Iowa Freedom Summit aren't enough to keep Walker in the conversation, the Forbes Media chairman and columnist told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner.
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Walker has to "demonstrate that he's putting together the organization, the ground game," and "raising the resources to be a very real, sustainable, long-term candidate," said Forbes, adding, "if Walker can show he can get the bucks, he will be a formidable candidate."
Forbes, author of "Money: How the Destruction of the Dollar Threatens the Global Economy - and What We Can Do About It"
, a GOP presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, handicapped the pre-primary jostling among Republicans without explicitly making an endorsement.
In what is expected to be a crowded field once candidates start officially joining the race, Forbes said that Walker "certainly has put himself on the map in a major way" with a galvanizing speech to Iowa conservatives
on Saturday at the summit hosted by Rep. Steve King.
Forbes also had praise for Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and 2010 GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in California.
He said that, overall, governors might have an edge with 2016 primary voters because of their executive-mansion experience.
A batch of current and former GOP governors are actively exploring a run for president in 2016. The list includes former governors Jeb Bush of Florida, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas; and current officeholders Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Chris Christie of New Jersey and Rick Perry of Texas, plus Walker.
"That's what people like about governors — governors have to deal with everyday problems," said Forbes, "and this is where Walker has a huge opening."
Forbes said that Republicans are still looking for somebody they can really support, and that Walker has attracted notice because he clipped the bargaining power of his state's public-sector unions, turned back organized labor's all-out effort to recall him, and then won re-election last November.
"When I go around and talk to Republicans, there's not a lot of enthusiasm out there … but they're all willing to give a look at Gov. Walker," said Forbes. "They're very interested. They know he's a man who's demonstrated real backbone under severe pressure. He's got that kind of demeanor that doesn't frighten people but does big things. So there's keen interest."
Walker justified the interest on Saturday, according to Forbes, who said "what he did in Iowa is huge, establishing himself as a formidable front runner."
Turning to other speakers at the Iowa Freedom Summit, Forbes also described New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as "formidable," not to mention forceful.
"People talk about, 'oh, he chews people out,' and that kind of thing," said Forbes. "But given what's happening in the world, people may be up for somebody who has a frontal, take-no-prisoner approach, who has demonstrated he can get some things done.
"New Jersey's economy is still a little weak," said Forbes. "There's still a lot of work to do there."
But Christie "may fit the mood of the time," said Forbes, "and the key thing is, he's got to demonstrate, too, that he's got some real programs in terms of, say, a radical tax reform, what to do about Obamacare, and the like."
"People want a Reagan-esque approach of a positive radical agenda and the ability to get it done," said Forbes.
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