Walker: 'Deference should be given' to executive appointments

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said "deference should be given" to executives looking to fill out appointments in their own administration.

"I think in general that executives, be it a governor, be it a county executive or be it the president, if he or she wants to put people in to run portions of their administrations … deference should be given as long as people are competent and ethical," Walker said at a Friday morning breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor.

But he hedged when asked about the Senate using the nuclear option on Thursday, differentiating between judicial and executive nominations.

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Walker, who has hinted his interest in a 2016 presidential bid, said there should be a "larger concern about judicial appointments" because they last much longer and, because of that,  "a wider level of scrutiny" should be applied.

"It does make some sense to have a higher standard and not blow that up, as frustrating as it is," he said.

Under the new rules of the Senate, only 50 votes are needed to overcome objections to executive appointments and judicial appointments except for Supreme Court nominees, who will need 60 votes to move through the confirmation process.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) pushed hard for the new rules after years of fighting with Republicans over judicial and executive nominations. That led to threats of retaliation from Senate Republicans.

At the breakfast, Walker also argued against a divided government, saying that the "conventional wisdom" that Americans wanted divided government no longer holds. He pointed out the wide-ranging changes he'd pushed through with a united Republican legislature since he became governor and compared that with the division in Washington.

"They've seen the last few years … instead of checks and balances, what you've got is gridlock," he said.

He also downplayed any 2016 talk, saying his focus was on the 2014 elections because "it doesn't matter as much in 2016 if there isn't the likelihood that the new president won't have a party in charge in both chambers that can help him or her."

Walker is on a national book tour for his book Unintimidated, which chronicles his turbulent first term in office.

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