• WisPolitics


Thursday, April 16, 2015

 11:58 AM 

Obey sees Walker as Bush running mate, Petri says Walker 'political phenomenon'


Former Congressman Dave Obey today predicted Scott Walker will be the vice presidential candidate on a ticket with Jeb Bush.

"And the reason I say that is because I think that the Republican establishment has enough oomph to nominate someone who is perceived as more moderate than some of the guys running around the country these days," Obey told a WisPolitics.com luncheon today at the Madison Club. "But I think in order to cement that, they're going to need to satisfy the hard right part of the party. And I think Walker is seen enthusiastically by a lot of those people."

Obey, a Democrat, represented Wisconsin's 7th District in the House from 1969 to 2010. He was joined on stage today by former Congressman Tom Petri, a Republican who represented Wisconsin's 6th District from 1979 to 2014.

The two are putting on a roadshow of sorts, travelling around the state and giving presentations on politics and civics.

Petri's take on Walker was not as definitive as Obey's, though it was more complimentary. Petri said he has watched Walker's career since the governor was 16 and president of Boys Nation, in which representatives from the states go to Washington, D.C., to learn about the structure and function of the federal government.

Petri said he has been impressed.

"I think he's a political phenomenon," he said.

In particular, Petri said, Walker has an ability to benefit from crises. Petri cited the fake David Koch call Walker received in 2011.

"And the guy says some goofy right-wing things, and Scott's saying, 'Well, I wouldn't quite go along with that, that seems a little extreme to me,' and so on and so forth," Petri said. "And it sort of fizzled.

"All I'm saying is keep your eye on him. He has potential."

But if Walker does end up on the ticket, Obey said, it would not be good for the country. Obey said people need someone in leadership to pull them together, but Walker is "probably the most polarizing governor in the country right now."

"And the last thing I think we need as a nation is to have the same kind of rancor and political overreach nationally that you had here in Wisconsin," Obey said. "I go back to my point about always looking for ways to leave your political adversary something that they have won in the deal.

"What I see happening in this Capitol is a constant in-your-face approach."

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