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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker urges Mitt Romney to offer bold economic plan

By David Lauter, Tribune Washington Bureau –

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker, fresh from his victory in last week’s recall election, has been on something of a victory lap, making the circuit of Washington newsmaker venues and offering public advice to Mitt Romney’s campaign.

On Sunday, Walker was on CBS’ “Face the Nation” program. Thursday, it was the breakfast session sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, a long-standing institution that gives ambitious politicians a chance to speak to an audience of Washington correspondents.

At both venues, Walker offered a similar bit of advice to Romney, urging him to go beyond criticizing President Barack Obama and lay out a clearer, bolder plan for tackling the nation’s fiscal problems. Voters will reward politicians who are “willing to stick their necks out a little bit,” he said at the breakfast, citing his own experience.

Walker, who was elected in 2010, became a hero to conservatives when he pushed a bill through the Wisconsin Legislature last year that sharply curtailed collective bargaining rights for teachers and most other public employees. The move generated a furor from the unions and their allies in the Democratic Party and liberal activist groups, who sought to recall him from office. He defeated the recall handily, winning by a seven-point margin over his Democratic challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

Voters need to hear a “a very simple set of messages” from Romney that would lay out a clear plan for what he would do if elected, Walker said. “It’s not just a referendum on President Obama.”

“I don’t know that voters are there yet with Gov. Romney,” he said.

Walker also said he thought Romney had “a shot” at winning Wisconsin in November. The last Republican presidential nominee to carry the state was President Ronald Reagan when he won a second term in 1984.

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