On ABC’s This Week, substitute host Martha Raddatz tried put Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin on the defensive by demanding specific strategies on how to deal with urgent foreign policy like Syria.
“There are enormous foreign policy challenges going ahead, which the next president will inherit. One of your potential rivals for the GOP nomination, Senator Marco Rubio, said a governor with eyes on the presidency could acquire a global strategic vision, but that taking a trip to some foreign city for two days does not make you Henry Kissinger. I think you met with Henry Kissinger yesterday. But what would you say in response to Governor Rubio?”
Walker said he’d met with Kissinger, as well former Secretaries of State George Shultz and Madeleine Albright, but took issue with the contention that governors “just take trips.”
“As a governor, I’ve had risk assessments given to me by the FBI and my adjutant general about threats not only in my state, but around the country. That is one of the reasons why I’m so worried about the future, not just of our country, our world,” he said.
But Raddatz wanted more. “Let’s talk about some specific, and you talk about leadership and you talk about big, bold, fresh ideas. What is your big, bold, fresh idea in Syria?” she asked mockingly.
“Well, I think – I go back to the red line,” said the Wisconsin governor — who, if you’re keeping score at home is not yet a declared candidate for the Republicans presidential nomination.
“Let’s not go back. Let’s go forward. What is your big, bold idea in Syria?” Raddatz demanded.
Walker calmly responded: “I think aggressively, we need to take the fight to ISIS and any other radical Islamic terrorist in and around the world, because it’s not a matter of when they attempt an attack on American soil, or not if I should say, it’s when, and we need leadership that says clearly, not only amongst the United States but amongst our allies, that we’re willing to take appropriate action. I think it should be surgical.”
Raddatz, who fancies herself as a foreign policy expert — in part because she “takes trips” overseas — responded with the White House talking points: “You don’t think 2,000 air strikes is taking it to ISIS in Syria and Iraq?”
Then this followed:
WALKER: I think we need to have an aggressive strategy anywhere around the world. I think it’s a mistake to —
RADDATZ: But what does that mean? I don’t know what aggressive strategy means. If we’re bombing and we’ve done 2,000 air strikes, what does an aggressive strategy mean in foreign policy?
WALKER: I think anywhere and everywhere, we have to be – go beyond just aggressive air strikes. We have to look at other surgical methods. And ultimately, we have to be prepared to put boots on the ground if that’s what it takes, because I think, you know–
RADDATZ: Boots on the ground in Syria? U.S. boots on the ground in Syria?
WALKER: I don’t think that is an immediate plan, but I think anywhere in the world —
RADDATZ: But you would not rule that out.
WALKER: I wouldn’t rule anything out. I think when you have the lives of Americans at stake and our freedom loving allies anywhere in the world, we have to be prepared to do things that don’t allow those measures, those attacks, those abuses to come to our shores.”
When regular This Week host George Stephanopolous tried the same tack with Chris Christie, another undeclared candidate, Christie famously said, “Look, I’m governor of New Jersey,” then went on to talk about real issues he was currently handling. But candidates who do run for the GOP nomination should realize that the MSM will also try to play gotcha’ with Republican candidates.