Did Scott Walker Reveal His Crisis-Ending Ruse to a Prank Caller?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 23 2011 10:20 AM

Did Scott Walker Reveal His Crisis-Ending Ruse to a Prank Caller?

MADISON, Wisc. -- The governor's main line is busy, so I'll have to grab an in-person spokesman confirmation or denial in a bit.* Until then: Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast claims to have posed as "David Koch" and gotten 20 minutes on the phone with Gov. Scott Walker, goading him to take the hardest possible line against unions. (The Koch brothers got the #2 slot in the Beast's annual "most loathsome Americans" list.)

I think Murphy gets a scoop here when he gets Walker to explain a ruse that could bring the Senate back in session. He's discussing the missing Senate Democrats.

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WALKER: You've got a few of the radical ones -- unfortunately, one of them's the minority leader -- but most of the rest of them are just looking for a way to get out of this. They're scared out of their minds. They don't know what it means. There's a bunch of recalls up against them. They'd really like to just get back up here and get it over with. So the paycheck thing, some of the other things threatening them, I think collectively there's enough going on, and as long as they don't think I'm going to cave, which again we have no interest in. An interesting idea that was brought up to me by my chief of staff, we won't do it until tomorrow, is putting out an appeal to the Democratic leader. I would be willing to sit down and talk to him, the assembly Democrat leader, plus the other two Republican leaders—talk, not negotiate and listen to what they have to say if they will in turn—but I’ll only do it if all 14 of them will come back and sit down in the state assembly. They can recess it... the reason for that, we're verifying it this afternoon, legally, we believe, once they’ve gone into session, they don’t physically have to be there. If they’re actually in session for that day, and they take a recess, the 19 Senate Republicans could then go into action and they’d have quorum because it's turned out that way. So we’re double checking that. If you heard I was going to talk to them that’s the only reason why. We’d only do it if they came back to the capitol with all 14 of them. My sense is, hell. I'll talk. If they want to yell at me for an hour, I'm used to that. I can deal with that. But I'm not negotiating.

"KOCH": Bring a baseball bat. That’s what I’d do.

WALKER: I have one in my office; you’d be happy with that. I have a slugger with my name on it.

"KOCH": Beautiful.

"Tomorrow" is today, so that's one way this could be confirmed.

*The call is legit .

The Governor takes many calls everyday. Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. He continued to say that the budget repair bill is about the budget. The phone call shows that the Governor says the same thing in private as he does in public and the lengths that others will go to disrupt the civil debate Wisconsin is having.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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