Morning Joe Attacks Scott Walker: 'Flip-Flopping', 'Question of Authenticity'

On Monday's Morning Joe, panelists Al Hunt, Mark Halperin, and Steve Schmidt discussed Scott Walker’s entry into the race for the 2016 Republican nomination. All three of them voiced concern about the Wisconsin governor and criticized him for “flip-flopping” as well labeling him inauthentic. 

While Bloomberg’s Hunt did note that Walker “had a better 2015 than any other candidate,” he slammed the conservative governor: “I think it's a question of authenticity. He has flipped on a number of issues. And you can do some of that, you can change your mind, but, you know, you have to be authentic. And I'm not sure Scott Walker has passed that test yet.”

Regular Morning Joe contributor Mark Halperin pointed out many of the same concerns that Hunt did, making the case that donors are hesitant to back the Wisconsin governor because of his position changes: 

And the flip-flops, the position changes, and the evasions that Al referred to earlier are giving a lot of donors pause. They want someone to go into a general election who will be solid, strong, consistent. He's got that reputation in Wisconsin. But can he do that now in the context of a presidential campaign?

Resident liberal Republican Steve Schmidt warned Scott Walker to be careful about flip-flopping. He argued that it has doomed presidential candidates like Mitt Romney and John Kerry in the past, and that it could happen to Walker as well: "[T]he flip-flopping, the evasions on – the evasions on answers. If you look at the Romney campaign in 2008, you look at John Kerry, flip-flopping in a presidential campaign can be deadly."

According to Schmidt, Walker has very little room to maneuver in the 2016 presidential campaign because the Wisconsin governor has purportedly changed positions so much: "And I think that Scott Walker has filled his tank in that regard very, very early in this campaign. This is gonna be challenge for him as he is standing fully in the spotlight and glare of a presidential campaign in the top tier of candidates.”

The hits against Walker keep coming. On the July 13 edition of CBS This Morning, Walker’s “readiness for prime time” was questioned by reporter Dean Reynolds. 

The relevant portion of the transcript is below. 

MSNBC

Morning Joe

July 13, 2015

AL HUNT: He [Scott Walker] has had a better 2015 than any other candidate. And he does have those strengths. He's doing great in Iowa. Our pollster, Ann Selzer, the Michelangelo of Hawkeye state polling, says he's not only running ahead of everyone, but when you look at the internals, he really has great strength there. He is battle tested. He appeals to the right-wing and is acceptable to some of the mainstream elements. But I think you’ve addressed his problems. Number one, is he ready for prime time? Can you see this guy in the White House? That ISIS comment was so stupid. And secondly, I don't think it's a matter of him being smart. He doesn't have a college degree. That doesn't matter. Harry Truman didn't. It’s – I think it's a question of authenticity. He has flipped on a number of issues. And you can do some of that, you can change your mind, but, you know, you have to be authentic. And I'm not sure Scott Walker has passed that test yet. 

[...]

JOE SCARBOROUGH: Well, he seemed to disappear lately, Mark. We haven't heard him that much in the news. But – and yet, you look, as Al Hunt said, you look in Iowa polls, he's at the top. And what's his fundraising look like? We got the news that Jeb got over 100 million dollars, which puts him, obviously, far ahead of everybody else. Is Scott Walker going to be able to raise the money he needs to raise to keep up with Bush and the rest of the field? 

MARK HALPERIN: It's a great question. Obviously, Joe, as you know, there is the hard dollar fundraising for the campaign which just starts now because he's not been a candidate. On the soft money side, on the super PAC side, the 527 side, he's not in a league with Bush. He's not, I don’t believe, going to be in a league with Cruz and maybe not with Rubio, but he'll be in that next tier. I think he’s – a lot of the biggest donors, a lot of people who will give to a super PAC, give to a 527, they're waiting to see how he performs. And the flip-flops, the position changes, and the evasions that Al referred to earlier are giving a lot of donors pause. They want someone to go into a general election who will be solid, strong, consistent. He's got that reputation in Wisconsin. But can he do that now in the context of a presidential campaign? Those two are connected. Can he be consistent? If he does that, I think he will get back towards – not counting Jeb Bush – that first tier of fundraising. 

[...]

STEVE SCHMIDT: Look, I think when you look at the Scott Walker candidacy right now in its very beginning stages and you look at what Al pointed out earlier, the flip-flopping, the evasions on – the evasions on answers. If you look at the Romney campaign in 2008, you look at John Kerry, flip-flopping in a presidential campaign can be deadly. And I think that Scott Walker has filled his tank in that regard very, very early in this campaign. This is gonna be challenge for him as he is standing fully in the spotlight and glare of a presidential campaign in the top tier of candidates.

NBDaily 2016 Presidential Morning Joe Scott Walker Al Hunt Mark Halperin Steve Schmidt

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