Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, 47, is emerging as a front-runner in the crowded field of 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls. He spoke with On Point guest host John Harwood from a campaign stop in Godfrey, Ill., on Monday about what makes him different from his GOP colleagues. Below are excerpts from the interview. Listen to the full conversation above.
How would you make it clear to the Republicans listening to this show what makes you different from the other 2016 candidates?
What I think what makes us unique is there are really two groups: there are fighters and there are winners. There's a lot of people fighting in Washington, fighting the good fight, trying to contrast their point of view with that of the President and others in Washington, but they largely haven't won those fights. And then there are winners — there's a number of people who have been very good at winning elections and getting re-elected, but for the most part they haven't been in the fight, at least the fight that matters for the last few years. And I think what makes us unique to Americans in general is that we've done both. We have fought. We have won. And peoples' lives are better off because of it in Wisconsin.
How do you define victory? The candidate who has commanded the most attention-- Donald Trump- said that Wisconsin was a "catastrophe". What do you say to him?
I'm gonna let Donald Trump speak for Donald Trump, I'm not gonna attack other candidates. But I will tell you that I'm proud of our record in Wisconsin. It's why the voters in my state, a Blue State, elected me three times. We took a $3.6 billion budget deficit we inherited and we turned it around.
I think you would acknowledge as a matter of current politics in Wisconsin, you are not at high tide...
The only poll in life that matters is the one taken on Election Day. I faced the first recall election in the history of the country where a governor was elected- I was actually reelected at a larger margin than I was the first time. At that point, my approval rating was somewhere in the thirties because I was under massive attack from every left-wing group you can think of in America. In the end, the reason we won (...) was because our reform actually worked.
I saw your op-ed in which you said that you would terminate the Iran Deal if you were elected president, but Mike Huckabee upped the ante on you by saying that with this deal, President Obama would "march Israel to the door of the oven". What do you think of that rhetoric? Why is that talk prevalent in your Republican party?
As I said for Mr. Trump, I'm not gonna comment on him or Governor Huckabee or anyone else in terms of their policies. I'm gonna let them speak for themselves.
You don't want to condemn that comment, though?
Well, I'm certainly not gonna say it. They can speak for themselves. You're not hearing me use that sort of language. What I'm talking about are the issues and the specifics. And in this case when I talk about the Iran deal (...) this is not a country we should be doing business with. I would terminate the Iran Deal on day one. I would reimpose the Congressionally authorized sanctions. I would work with the Congress to put in place even more crippling ones. And I would convince our allies to do the same. But I wouldn't wait until the first day. I'd be on the phone on the day after the election working with our allies around the world because Iran is not just a long term threat because of their infrastructure, they are a short term threat for sure to Israel. Because much of this money that's gonna come from the lifting of the sanctions isn't going to go to the Iranian people, overwhelmingly it's going to support terrorist activity around the world.
Listen to the full interview with Governor Scott Walker above. Find more of On Point's 2016 election coverage here.