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Walker has quiet night at GOP debate

By Shawn Johnson

Wisconsin Public Radio

Gov. Scott Walker struggled for airtime last night during Wednesday night's Republican presidential debate on CNN, speaking less than anyone in the 11-candidate field.

Walker vowed to be aggressive in the debate, and while he had a moment early on attacking businessman Donald Trump, a running clock kept by NPR showed that Walker spoke for a total of eight minutes and 29 seconds in total — the least of any of the candidates on stage. By comparison, Trump spoke for nearly 19 minutes.

When Walker did speak, he often tried to pivot from the questions asked by CNN moderator Jake Tapper to other topics, such as when Tapper asked about the minimum wage and Walker talked about repealing President Barack Obama's health care law.

Immediately after Walker finished, Tapper turned his attention to another candidate, Ben Carson, saying: "Dr. Carson, Governor Walker didn't really answer the question, but I'll let you respond."

It wasn't the only time when Tapper moved on quickly after an answer by Walker. Other candidates were asked more questions and were more unyielding with their interruptions.

Walker's big moment of the night came early, when other candidates were being asked whether they trusted Trump to be in charge of the country's nuclear weapons. Walker interrupted, complaining that the candidates weren't talking about the issues. He addressed Trump head-on, referencing his reality show career: "We don't need an 'Apprentice' in the White House — we have one right now. He told us all the things we wanted to hear back in 2008. We don't know who you are or where you're going."

Turmp shot back at Walker for his handling of Wisconsin's budget and his sagging poll numbers before Walker took another shot at Trump for his casino projects that had gone bankrupt.

Beyond that exchange, it was a quiet night for Walker.

More WPR news is available on KUWS-FM 91.3 or online at wpr.org.

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