Walker had the wits not to agree with the question as framed. It would have been unwise to recommend firing cops, firemen, and teachers. The message of the Wisconsin recall was, he said, "slightly different." Flipping to the positive, Walker said that the message was that people want leaders who "take on the tough issues." The point is to make people less "dependent on government programs because they have a job in the private sector where they can control their own freedom, their own destiny and ultimately lead to greater prosperity."
Shieffer tried again to get an attack on Romney going, asking — again naming the popular government workers — "Well, do you think Governor Romney is talking about getting rid of more teachers and firemen?"
Walker rejected the bait again: "No.... The answer is not more big government.... I know in my state our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers, and teachers. That's not what I think of when I think of big government." By the way, Romney only opposed hiring more state workers, so that's consistent with Walker's idea of protecting firefighters, police officers, and teachers. (Isn't it interesting that Walker's speech shows more respect than Sheiffer's — "firefighters" instead of "firemen" and "police officers" instead of "cops"?)
Next Shieffer compliments Walker — "People on both sides out there sort of said, well, you know, I may not agree with the governor on the stand he took, but he was a man of conviction" — and that sets up a third invitation to attack Romney: Some Republicans "are saying that he needs to stand up more for things and not sort of try to be all things to all people."
And here's where Walker applies some pressure to Romney. He cites Romney's record with approval and says that Romney "has got the capacity" — a phrase he will use a total of 3 times — to adopt "a clear plan."
[P]eople like Paul Ryan and others and I hope that he goes big and he goes bold. I think he has got the capacity to do that. I don't think we win if it's just about a referendum on Barack Obama. I think it has got to be more.You see what Walker did? At first, by avoiding sounding as though he wanted government workers fired, he seemed more sympathetic and softer than Romney. But in the end, he said that the way to win the swing states like Wisconsin, was to be an out and proud conservative like Ronald Reagan. That was well played... and not what Bob Schieffer was angling for.
I think voters are hungry, and my state a good example. I had people in the last couple of weeks of my election come up to me and say, I voted for your opponent the last time but I'm voting for you now.
And the reason for them was simple, they said, finally someone is willing to take on the tough issues facing our state, the economic and the fiscal crisis we faced in our state. People are so hungry for leaders that are willing to be able to stand up and take on those decisions. So I think the governor can do that as well.
SCHIEFFER: Is Wisconsin Romney country now?
WALKER: Well, I think it's up in the air. I think it's definitely in play. You know, six months ago I think the White House had it firmly in their column. I think it is up in the air.
But I think it's really very much left up not just to Republican or conservative voters, but to those swing voters who again elected me by a larger margin than they did two years ago to say, if Governor Romney can show that he has got clear plan, a plan to take on the kind of reforms we need to make America great again, particularly for our kids, I think that can win in Wisconsin and I think it can win in other swing states.