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Wisconsin's Walker: 'It's really not about jobs...'

Associated Press

When it comes to ambitious Republican governors eyeing national office, some notable GOP figures have a problem: job creation remains a top national priority, and their job-creation records are pretty awful.

That's true of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who's among the worst governors in the country when it comes to employment, and it's especially true of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R), who's record on jobs is even worse.

As a candidate in 2010, Walker was so confident about what he'd accomplish, he made his campaign promise quite specific: elect him governor and he'd create 250,000 jobs in his first term. With Walker nowhere near his goal, and Wisconsin unlikely to make up the difference over the next year, the Republican is starting to take a "who, me?" approach to his pledge.

Governor Walker promised Wisconsin 250,000 new jobs again and again while campaigning in 2010. He said he'd accomplish that in his first term as governor. But the latest Milwaukee Journal Sentinel report puts Walker less than a third of the way there. He has less than a year and a half to create nearly 170,000 jobs to keep that pledge.

On Monday in Merrill, he carefully backed away from the specific number.

"My goal wasn't so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, 'it's really not about jobs, it's about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,'" Walker said.

Got that? As a candidate in 2010, Walker said he'd create 250,000 jobs in four years. As a governor eyeing re-election and a presidential campaign, Walker is now saying, "It's really not about jobs...."

Complicating matters, after a local NBC affiliate ran the story saying, "Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop," the governor's office urged the station to take the story off its website.

Scott Walker, in other words, hopes the public doesn't remember his 2010 promise, and hopes news organizations won't remind them.

Also note, when asked about his poor record on job creation, the Republican governor has struggled to come up with a defense. In April, he blamed protesters who opposed his union-busting efforts in 2011, as if his policies were their fault.

While serving as governor and running for a second term, Walker is also co-writing a book with Republican pundit Marc Thiessen, a Washington Post columnist and former President George W. Bush speechwriter.