Political Correction

CONFIRMED: Gov. Walker's Strategy Call With "David Koch" Really Happened

February 23, 2011 12:25 pm ET - by Alan Pyke

A few hours after the Buffalo Beast published audio of a phone call between Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and a writer posing as right-wing moneyman David Koch, a spokesman for the governor has confirmed the call is authentic in an email to reporters (via Greg Sargent):

The Governor takes many calls everyday. Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. He continued to say that the budget repair bill is about the budget. The phone call shows that the Governor says the same thing in private as he does in public and the lengths that others will go to disrupt the civil debate Wisconsin is having.

The confirmation that the call — 20 minutes of chummy talk about the governor's tactical approach to advancing his "budget repair bill" past staunch resistance — is genuine should make it harder for anti-union conservatives to pretend that Wisconsin is simply seeking budgetary balance, rather than to lead a national tide of public worker union-busting. Yet the statement claims the call proves Walker "says the same thing in private as he does in public" — that "the budget repair bill is about the budget."

Segments of the audio suggest that Walker relished an opportunity to burnish his union-busting credentials with one of the biggest backers of his effort (he thought) on the line. From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:

Gov. Scott Walker, believing he was talking to prominent financial backer David Koch, told a Buffalo, N.Y. blogger that his tough stance against public-sector unions was similar to former President Ronald Reagan successfully taking on the air-traffic controllers union three decades ago.

"That was the first crack in the Berlin Wall and led to the fall of the Soviets," Walker said, according to a tape of the conversation that was released early Wednesday.

"This is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history," Walker said, according to the tape. [...]

Toward the end of the call, the prankster tells Walker: "Once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time."

Walker's response to "David Koch" offering him a free billionaire-style vacation as a reward for "crush[ing] these bastards"?

"All right, that would be outstanding," Walker says on the tape.

Listen to the audio below the fold.

Part 1:

Part 2:

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