Republican Gov. Scott Walker takes GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney to task in his new book, saying he failed to offer voters a bold and positive agenda, criticism that sheds light on what a Walker presidential run might look like in 2016.
The Associated Press on Friday obtained a copy of Walker's book, "Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge," before its scheduled release Nov. 19. In the book, Walker presents himself as a leader with a national vision but says Romney ignored advice he gave him during the 2012 presidential race.
Walker devotes much of the 278-page book to retelling the story of his 2011 fight to effectively end collective bargaining rights for most public workers. He recounts the massive protests that ensued and his victorious 2012 recall campaign.
Walker repeats his rationale for the collective bargaining proposal, saying "common sense" changes wre necessary to deal with a $3.6 billion budget shortfall. He castigates his political opponents, derides protesters as "agitators" who "harassed and spit on lawmakers" and questions the strategy of union leaders who fought to stop his plan from passing.
Walker questions Romney's approach in running his presidential campaign. In the book, he said Romney misread the lesson from the Walker's victory over a recall attempt and should have done more to criticize President Barack Obama.
Walker begins the book with an excoriation of Obama's presidency and Washington politics, saying Obama has laid out a second term agenda that "doubles down on the failures of his first." He says Wisconsin's Republican-led policies show a better way forward.
"If we can do it in Wisconsin, we can do it anywhere — even in our nation's capital," Walker writes.
Walker recounts an email he sent to Romney voicing his frustrations during the presidential campaign. He said he urged Romney to show more passion, get out from behind the podium and connect directly with voters "like you did to the Olympic athletes" when Romney oversaw the 2002 Winter Olympics. Walker said he got no response.
Walker writes that Republicans in 2012 didn't run on their principles and did a "lousy job of presenting a positive vision of free market solutions to our nation's problems in a way that is relevant to people's lives."
While Walker criticizes Romney, he's much kinder to Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He calls Ryan, who is a close friend, "one of the smartest and most decent people I know in or out of politics."
Walker says that Ryan has the courage to tackle big issues and is a bold reformer, but that Romney distanced himself from many of Ryan's fiscal proposals. Walker also offers praise for other Republicans who are considered possible presidential candidates, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
Ryan also plans to publish a book titled, "Where Do We Go from Here?" next summer.
The release of Walker's book comes roughly a year before he faces re-election in Wisconsin. One Democrat candidate, former Trek Bicycle Corp. executive and state Commerce Department Secretary Mary Burke, has announced she will challenge Walker.
Burke, who had not announced her candidacy before Walker wrote the book, is not mentioned in it.