In-depth: Walker's new book tells story of Act 10 saga
Gov. Scott Walker's new book comes out Tuesday.
In the book, Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge, Walker tells the story of his often turbulent time in office.
Much of that centers on Act 10 and the battle over collective bargaining.
In the book, Walker says he started thinking about eliminating collective bargaining the day after his election in 2010. He says this was necessary to help tackle the state's budget shortfall. But Walker goes further. "Reforming collective bargaining was the right thing to do, with or without a deficit," he writes.
Walker talks about the opposition he faced from members of his own party, especially Republican state senators, who "looked like their dog had just died" when told of the Act 10 plan, according to Walker's book.
Senate Democrats fled to Illinois. Walker writes he wanted lawmakers to push the bill through in other ways and pass it immediately. But Senate Republicans waited, allowing protests in the capitol to balloon. As Walker describes it, "It was an entirely self-inflicted wound."
In the book, Walker addresses a prank call he took during this time from a man claiming to be billionaire David Koch. It was really a blogger named Ian Murphy.
"What we were thinking about the crowds was, was planting some troublemakers," Murphy said during that call.
"You know, well, the only problem with the, cause we thought about that, my only fear would be is if there was a ruckus caused," Walker replied on the call.
But now in his book, Walker changes his story.
"The fact is we never—never--considered putting 'troublemakers' in the crowd to discredit the protesters," Walker writes. He says that phone call was "one of the most embarrassing moments of my life."
The book offers several other tidbits about the Act 10 saga including Walker's own wife confronting him, asking why he was going after the unions. "I was obviously doing a lousy job of explaining our reforms," he writes.
Walker also talks about the protesters and their tactics.
"The media liked to comment on how 'peaceful' the protests were," he writes. "They must have never tried to get around the capitol in a suit and tie."
Walker also says he received death threats.
Act 10 eventually passed, leading to a flurry of recall elections across the state. Walker—clearly annoyed—writes Democrats "tried to recall six Republican state senators, guilty of no official misconduct, simply because they voted for our reforms."
Walker fails to mention Republicans did the same thing to Democrats.
Less than a year later, Walker himself faced a recall election—timing he says was perfect for him because his reforms had started saving money,
"If the law had allowed me to be recalled in 2011 instead of 2012, I would almost certainly have lost," Walker writes.
Walker ended up becoming the first governor in history to survive a recall election.
The night of his victory, Walker says his wife wanted him to declare, "This is what democracy looks like." That saying was commonly heard from protesters. But Walker writes, "I wanted to use my speech as a chance to end the acrimony, and unite our state once again. I decided not to say it."
In the book, Walker contrasted his experience with that of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Walker devotes an entire chapter to criticizing Romney's campaign.
"Mitt Romney never made the case for himself as a bold reformer," Walker writes. He says he wrote an email to Romney offering campaign advice but never received a response.
The governor uses his book to call for Republicans to stand by their principles—establishing himself as a conservative and stoking rumors he may be eying national office.
Democrats are blasting Walker's new book as "self-serving" and inaccurate.
"While Scott Walker is 'Unintimidated' by bagging campaign checks from extreme Tea Party billionaires and courting national press attention, the glaring omissions and revisionist history in his dishonest book indicate he is clearly intimidated by the truth - because you won't find it in Scott Walker's book," said Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate in a statement.
Walker's book is set for release Tuesday.
Gov. Walker's book contains several other tidbits, including some focusing on north central Wisconsin. For more on that, click here.