"Face the Nation" transcript, June 10, 2012: Walker, O'Malley, Trumka

I can remember, I was just about 13 at the time, and still today, I can remember less government, smaller government, fewer taxes, lower taxes, strong national defense. Those are things that people remember then, I think Governor Romney can lay it out. And he has got the capacity and experience to do that.

But here in Wisconsin and other swing states, I think that's the key. The "R" next to the name cannot be just about being "Republican," it has got to be about "reformer." People are desperate for leadership in Washington and we're just not seeing it out of the leaders there, at least not in the White House.

SCHIEFFER: But you think he can do more along that line?

WALKER: Well, I think people 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.

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.

SCHIEFFER: Governor, thank you so much for being with us this morning. We really appreciate your answering the questions.

And we're going to turn now to Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. He would be a Democrat, and Richard Trumka, who is the head of the AFL-CIO, a federation of labor unions that represents 12 million workers.

You took a big part in that recall election out there, Mr. Trumka. And I've got to say, any way you cut it, it was a defeat for big labor.

TRUMKA: Well, who it was a defeat for were the people who got hurt, were the working people on the ground in that state. It's true that the people in Wisconsin didn't recall Governor Walker, but he spent over $50 million on this. He has lost control of the state senate so his agenda is stopped dead in its tracks.

He has the worst job-creating record of all the states that are out there right now. And people are looking at that.


SCHIEFFER: But having said all that, he won.

TRUMKA: What did he win? He got the right to serve the rest of his term. What he hasn't done is create jobs. Again, he has the worst job-creating record out there.

And he talked a lot about making tough decisions. There's a difference, Bob, between making a tough decision to create jobs and making decisions that are political decisions. He didn't lead here, he followed. The American Legislative Exchange Conference, right after 2010 election, brought 2,000 state Republican legislators together with governors and said their goal was to reduce the vote -- the progressive vote in 2012 by 10 percent. Less votes. Less democracy.

So he went after unions. He went after immigrants. He went after seniors. He went after students. He went after all of those things. And he didn't do what he was supposed to do. And that's try to create jobs. We wish he had the best job-creating record in the country and we wish we could help him get there.

SCHIEFFER: Governor O'Malley, do you agree with Governor Romney about the lessons of Wisconsin, what you just heard him say? What do you think the lessons were?

O'MALLEY: Oh, I think the biggest lesson in Wisconsin is that 60 percent of the people do not believe that recall elections were proper for policy differences, short of some criminal offense.

And right now Governor Walker has only had three people in his administration indicted.

O'MALLEY: He had his top communications person take an immunity deal, but he himself has not been named in that investigation.

And I think the sense among people in Wisconsin was we should among people in Wisconsin was we shouldn't have recall elections for policy reasons.

However, they did put the brakes on his hard-right-wing agenda by putting Democrats in charge of the State Senate. And for all his talk about making tough decisions, they aren't the tough decisions that actually create jobs. He had the worst rate of job creation in Wisconsin of any state in the nation, and so he overcame that with billionaire help to put on eight or 10 times as many ads as his opponent and made up a new set of numbers.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about this statement that the president got himself tangled up in on Friday, where he said the private sector is just fine and then he had to walk it back and say, well, the economy in general is not fine.

What was that all about?

O'MALLEY: Well, I think, for a president who usually chooses his words very, very carefully, I think what the president in retrospect would have liked to have said is that, while the private sector is improving, and no one can deny that we've had 27 months in a row of private-sector job growth, the fact of the matter is that the public sector continues to be a drag on the economy because, in 16 of the last 18 months, we've had public-sector job losses.

So in some months it's as if we take two or three steps forward and one or two steps back. For every three jobs created by the private sector, we eliminate a public sector job, teachers, firefighters, police, and that puts a drag on the economy. So I think that most economists would agree with the president that the private sector is doing better and the public sector is doing worse.

SCHIEFFER: This was not a good week, though, for the president.

O'MALLEY: We've had better weeks.


And there will be good weeks and bad weeks. I mean, even on this contest in Wisconsin, over the last three contested gubernatorial races -- I mean, we won in Kentucky, a state that the president did not win before. We also won in West Virginia. You didn't see us crowing that that meant the end of the Republican Party.

There are battles and there is a longer struggle, and at the end of the day, come November, people will choose to move forward and not go back to the failed policies of the Bush administration.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Trumka, let me ask you this, in the old days Republicans always raised the most money but Democrats could always fall back on help from the unions, who could turn out people, who could run these voter education programs, who could, kind of, put troops on the ground. That didn't seem to work this time in Wisconsin.

TRUMKA: No, I disagree with you completely. Money was a big part of this thing. And, you know, money is -- the money edge is really dangerous to democracy. Because what you have right now -- people have said to me that, look, you'll always be outspent, so how can you ever win?

And listen to what this says about democracy, Bob. This isn't about giving corporations more power. They have too much now. This is about giving the 1 percent too much power. What we do, we do people power. We go out and we educate people and we change what we've been doing.

In the past we couldn't talk to non-union workers. Now we can at least talk to non-union workers so we'll be mobilizing them and educating them not for just six or eight months before an election, but we'll be doing it year-round. So the day after that Wisconsin election happened, we were back out on the streets; we were talking to workers; we were educating them; we were mobilizing, and we were getting them going.

By the way, the Wisconsin fight really did provide a spark for the labor movement in Wisconsin because we're organizing more than we have in the past...

SCHIEFFER: Sort of a wake-up call?

TRUMKA: Not just that, but a coming together. Because they sent a guy that they had faith in was going to create jobs and instead of doing that he fell in line with the ALEC agenda, trying to take it away from them. And so they said we've got to change things. And they did. They changed...


SCHIEFFER: Let me just ask both of you. Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, on this broadcast last week, said he thought that, if the election were just a referendum on Barack Obama, that President Obama would lose, and that's why he was saying they've got to go negative.

Do you agree with that, Governor?