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Badger State Showdown: Walker meets the press

On “Meet the Press” yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) defended his budget proposal that would strip public workers of collective-bargaining rights. He twice deflected when asked by NBC’s David Gregory why he wouldn’t take concessions from unions to balance the state budget. On the third time he was asked, Walker said as a former local official, “I know that collective bargaining has a cost.” He even claimed that the budget repair bill was “less restrictive” than the federal government. (It’s unclear what he meant, since many federal workers are unionized.) On the perception of hypocrisy, on why he wasn’t trying to strip police or fire fighters of their collective-bargaining rights (both groups endorsed his candidacy), Walker said this is “not a values judgment” on teachers, but “is about protecting public safety,” noting that he couldn’t afford police or fire fighters striking for even a day.

State police didn’t remove about 600 protestors from the state Capitol.

There’s this headline from Saturday’s Wisconsin State Journal: “More than 70,000 protesters participate in rally at Capitol.” “For a second straight Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters filled the streets around the state Capitol — braving temperatures in the mid-teens — for the largest day yet in their continuing struggle to stop Gov. Scott Walker's plan to essentially end collective bargaining rights for most public employees. Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said early Saturday afternoon that the number of protesters — nearly all of whom opposed Walker's plan — was in excess of 70,000, the estimated number of protesters in attendance last Saturday.”