Walker: Don’t Bet Against Me in 2016

Wisconsin's governor neither confirms nor denies intent to run for president

Scott Walker / AP
February 1, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker (R., Wis.) has yet to decide officially whether he will run for president in 2016, but on Sunday he told ABC’s "This Week" no one should count him out.

"I just would tell you one thing," Walker said, declining to state the probability of his candidacy, "after three elections for governor and four years in a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1984, for president, I wouldn’t bet against me on anything."

The GOP field is crowded. However, in a recent Iowa poll, Walker held a 15-point lead among "likely Republican caucus-goers."

Romney announced that he would not run for office last week, in part because he hopes and believes that a lesser known Republican "one who is just getting started, may well emerge as being better able to defeat the Democrat nominee."

Many speculated that his comments were a jab at the candidacies of both Clinton and Bush. Walker made a similar argument, and urged his party to elect a candidate to represent the future.

"If we’re going to take on a name from the past, which is likely to be former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, I think for the party we need a name from the future."

"I think the biggest thing I hear from Americans applies both in the primary election and in the general," Walker said.

"I think people want to look to the future. They don’t want to go back in time. We don’t want to repeat what we’ve had in the past. We need a candidate not of the 20th century, but of the 21st century. Ironically, that’s what [Bill Clinton] brought to the table in 1992."

A forward-looking candidate in the Republican Party, Walker argued, needs new ideas in both domestic and foreign policy. As Walker made that case, he offered ideas of his own and pointed back to his gubernatorial achievements as successful examples.

"People want people to lead. They don’t need to agree with you 100 percent of the time on every issue, but they’re so sick and tired of politician’s in both parties, particularly in Washington, who say one thing on the campaign trail and then do something else."

"Those 100,000 protestors four years ago who came in and around out capital," Walker said, referencing opponents of his plans to revoke public employees' collective bargaining rights, "show that if we think we’re doing the right thing for the people, it doesn’t matter the intimidation factor, we’ll stand up and stand up for them."

The United States also needs a leader with a more aggressive strategy to deal with the growing threat of terrorism abroad, Walker said.

"We need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it’s not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil—or it’s not if, I should say, it’s when—and we need leadership that says clearly … we’re willing to take appropriate action."

Boots on the ground, he contended, should not be ruled out anywhere—even in Syria.

Walker dismissed suggestions that a governor is ill quipped to deal with foreign policy concerns.

"Governors don’t just take trips," he said. "As a governor, I’ve had risk assessments given to me by the FBI and my adjutant general about threats, not only in my states, but around the country. That’s one of the reasons why I’m so worried about our future—not just in our country, but in the world."