In an interview last Friday with the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, Gov. Scott Walker (R) gave perhaps his most blunt show of contrition yet for the mega-gaffe that could haunt him in the coming recall: His 20-minute phone call in February, at the height of the protests against his anti-public employee union legislation, with a blogger posing as conservative financier David Koch.
The interviewer said that a friend of Walker’s has said that the “Koch” call was the only time he saw Walker rattled, to have done something so “stupid.”
“Yeah, that’s a good way to put it, an accurate summary,” Walker responded. “It was stupid. It was stupid — you know, the call in and of itself, the whole fact that something like that would happen — it diverted attention from, you know, a debate that needed to be focused on the facts, and instead got off into this hysteria and everything.”
Walker also said the controversy served as a wake-up call to him, to stay focused on the issues at hand and not let the story become focused around himself.
During that call with blogger Ian Murphy, Walker discussed his ideas for tricking the Democrats into coming back by pretending to negotiate, his ambition to to bust the public employee unions in the mold of President Reagan firing the PATCO air traffic controller union, and — when asked by “Koch” — stated that he had considered (but ruled out) planting troublemakers in the crowds of protesters.
Also during the call, Walker boasted of the surprising nature of the legislation he was set to introduce — contradicting Republican assertions that Walker had campaigned on a platform of making the anti-union changes:
“Yeah, well, thanks. This is an exciting time. This is — you know, I told my cabinet, I had a dinner the Sunday, or excuse me, the Monday right after the 6th. Came home from the Super Bowl where the Packers won, and that Monday night I had all of my cabinet over to the residence for dinner. Talked about what we were gonna do, how we were gonna do it. We’d already kinda built plans up, but it was kind of the last hurrah before we dropped the bomb.”