Governor Scott Walker is backing away from comments he made in an interview with the news organization Politico over the weekend about his ambitions for the White House, telling Wisconsin reporters today he is committed to his current job as governor.
This weekend, Walker appeared to leave open the option of running for president in 2016. He told Politico reporter Jonathon Martin that his interest in the White House depended on how his accomplishments in Wisconsin matched up with his assessment of what he could accomplish on a national level. He pointed out in that interview that he had run for governor while he was still serving as Milwaukee County Executive. A few days later at the state tourism conference, he sought to reassure reporters that being governor is his current priority.
"Copy editors creating headlines created different things than what I said. What I said is, I love being governor. I am not looking for any other job. That's why I'm at the Governor's Conference on Tourism. Couple of weeks ago I was at the Governor's conference on economic development with a lot of people from tourism as well and again as long as the people of Wisconsin want them to be their governor, I'll continue to do that."
The governor's well-received speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference over the weekend puts him in a difficult position according to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Political Scientist Susan Johnson. She says Walker is treading a fine line in trying to send messages to two different audiences about his political ambitions: "Sort of, 'Wink, wink, nod, nod, that I am definitely interested in running for president in 2016.' But he also has to come back here and run for re-election in 2014."
In his interview with Politico the governor said he was not ruling out a run for president. Back in Madison he declined to go that far.