A so-called journalist from the liberal website the Buffalo Beast in Buffalo, NY has just released a stunning piece of audio, in which the journalist poses as conservative financier David Koch and tries to bait Wis. Gov. Scott Walker into an embarrassing conversation. In the end, Walker doesn't bite. The audio, then, may be most stunning not because of what Walkers says, but because of what the writer did.
Below is the call, recorded Tuesday and released today, in two parts:
The reporter, Ian Murphy, details how he got to the governor:
I first called at 11:30 am CST, and eventually got through to a young, male receptionist who, upon hearing the magic name Koch, immediately transferred me to Executive Assistant Governor Dorothy Moore.
“We’ve met before, Dorothy,” I nudged. “I really need to talk to Scott—Governor Walker.” She said that, yes, she thought she had met Koch, and that the name was “familiar.” But she insisted that Walker was detained in a meeting and couldn’t get away. She asked about the nature of my call. I balked, “I just needed to speak with the Governor. He knows what this is about,” I said. She told me to call back at noon, and she’d have a better idea of when he would be free.
I called at noon and was quickly transferred to Moore, who then transferred me to Walker’s Chief of Staff Keith Gilkes. He was “expecting my call.”
“David!” he said with an audible smile.
I politely said hello, not knowing how friendly Gilkes and Koch may be. He was eager to help. “I was really hoping to talk directly to Scott,” I said. He said that could be arranged and that I should just leave my number. I explained to Gilkes, “My goddamn maid, Maria, put my phone in the washer. I’d have her deported, but she works for next to nothing.” Gilkes found this amusing. “I’m calling from the VOID—with the VOID, or whatever it’s called. You know, the Snype!”
“Gotcha,” Gilkes said. “Let me check the schedule here…OK, there’s an opening at 2 o’clock Central Standard Time. Just call this same number and we’ll put you through.”
Could it really be that easy? Yes.
Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie confirms the audio is real. But in a statement he says the call verifies Walker is the same person both in public and private:
Throughout this call the Governor maintained his appreciation for and commitment to civil discourse. 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.
Democrats, however, used the recording to blast Walker.
"Scott Walker won't listen to Senate Democrats, or the hundreds of thousands of average Wisconsinites who are speaking up against his divisive power grab. But an oil billionaire from Kansas gets his full attention," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chairman Mike Tate told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It is a damning, embarrassing and possibly illegal admission that Scott Walker has put Wisconsin up for sale."
"My first reaction, it's revealing of his true agenda and his character," State Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) added.
According to the Sentinel, the Koch brothers are supporters of Walker's. Koch Industries' political action committee donated $43,000 to Walker's political fund last fall during his run for governor.
But while Democrats are quick to smear the governor over the audio, Phillip Klein at the American Spectator thinks it isn't damning at all, and in a post he pokes holes in the accusations flowing from the left.
"Throughout the call, fake Koch makes a series of bizarre and over-the-top comments such as 'gotta crush that union,' but Walker generally either changes the subject or treats the remarks politely without cosigning them, as a host or guest would do with a crazy caller on talk radio or C-SPAN," Klein Writes.
He gos on to pick apart each argument, such as the charges that Walker agreed with the fake Koch about MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski being a "real piece of a**":
Some liberals are claiming that Walker responded "oh yeah" when fake Koch referred to MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski as a "piece of a--." But TNR's Jon Chait has had to correct his post to acknowledge that the early transcription was "totally misleading." If you listen to the audio expand=1] of the exchange (just before the 7 minute mark), you'll hear that what actually happened is that fake Koch said, "You gotta love that Mika Brzezinski," Walker said "Oh yeah" and started to change the subject, there was cross talk when fake Koch referred to her as a "piece of a--," and then Walker goes on to tell an unrelated story.
And throughout, Klein writes, Walker is consistent regarding his convictions, even at one point saying, "We’re doing the just and right thing for the right reasons, and it’s all about getting our freedoms back.”
"The worst you can say about the call -- aside from the screening bungle by his staffers -- is that he took 20 minutes of time to speak with a rich guy from out of state," Klein says. "But at the same time, the call undermines the conspiracy that Koch is secretly controlling events in Wisconsin, as Walker is clearly explaining the way things are to fake Koch and the decisions he's making, rather than acting on Koch's suggestions."