Scott Walker disputes Mitt Romney’s ‘message of Wisconsin’

Mitt Romney has embraced Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in the wake of his recall election victory last week, but Walker kept Romney and his interpretation of the win at arm’s length Sunday.

Romney said Friday that Obama “wants another stimulus; he wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin? The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.”

Walker said during an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the message of Wisconsin isn’t exactly what Romney claimed.

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“I think it’s slightly different,” Walker said. “I think in our case what they wanted was people who are willing to take on the tough issues, not only here in Wisconsin but across the country.”

“In my state, I know our reforms allowed us to protect firefighters, police officers and teachers,” he added. “That’s not what I think of when I think of big government.”

Democrats were quick to pounce on Romney’s remark about teachers and public safety workers, calling it evidence that he is out of touch with middle-class priorities.

“Could Mitt Romney be any more disconnected from the concerns of middle-class Americans?” said R.T. Rybak, vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “To suggest that police, firefighters, and teachers aren’t helping the American people and aren’t vital to our communities shows that he has no clue what’s going on in the real world.”

Walker said Wisconsin is “definitely in play” in the presidential election but stopped short of predicting a Romney victory in the state.

In the nationwide vote, Walker said, “Romney’s got a shot if the ‘R’ next to his name doesn’t just stand for Republican, it stands for reformer, if he shows my state and he shows Americans that he’s got a plan to take on those reforms.”

Walker indicated his belief that Romney has devoted too much time to criticizing Obama’s policies and note enough to outlining his own.

“I just hope he takes a page out of President Reagan’s playbook in 1980, where it was not only a referendum on the failed policies of President Carter at the time, it was also something where President Reagan laid out a clear plan,” Walker said.

“People like [Wisconsin Representative] Paul Ryan and I and others hope that he goes big and he goes bold,” Walker added. “I think that he’s got the capacity to do that. I don’t think that we win if it’s just about a referendum on Barack Obama. I think it’s got to be more.”