Walker doesn't recall 'divide and conquer'

May 11, 2012 at 8:10 PM
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MILWAUKEE, May 11 (UPI) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said he did not recall "particulars" about a comment he made suggesting a divide-and-conquer approach to dealing with labor unions.

Walker was asked Friday about a video clip released late Thursday in which he tells a Wisconsin businesswoman in January 2011 how his incoming administration would approach labor issues.

The video, which was being shot for a documentary, shows Walker being asked by businesswoman Diane Hendricks whether Wisconsin will "ever get to be a completely red state" and become a right-to-work state.

"Well, we're going to start in a couple weeks with our budget adjustment bill," Walker said. "The first step is we're going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer. So for us, the base we get for that is the fact that we've got -- budgetarily we can't afford not to. If we have collective bargaining agreements in place, there's no way not only the state but local governments can balance things out … That opens the door once we do that."

Walker -- who is running against Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a recall election June 5 -- accused political opponents of trying to "rehash, replay the debate" that broke out when his administration and the Republican dominated state legislature enacted measures stripping most public workers of collective bargaining rights, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The legislation eventually led to his recall.

"A year and a half ago, I don't remember all of the particulars," Walker said of the "divide-and-conquer" reference in the video clip.

Barrett said at a news conference Friday the video made it evident Walker had misled voters.

"If you want to know when Scott Walker is really telling the truth, it's when he's talking to billionaires and when he thinks he's talking to billionaires," Barrett said.

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