April 9th, 2014
03:19 PM ET
4 years ago

Scott Walker: College degree not a 'requirement' for higher office

(CNN) - Scott Walker suggested it's not necessary for a presidential candidate to have a college degree - after all, he didn't need one to become governor of Wisconsin.

Walker, who's a possible 2016 Republican presidential contender, was asked at an event Wednesday if he thinks someone seeking the Oval Office should have a college degree.

"I got to be governor without it," he said of not having a college degree. "So I don't think it's any base requirement out there."

He pointed to his rise through Wisconsin's political ranks as evidence that voters judge officials based on their performance in office, not by whether they have a diploma.

"I don't think I needed a college degree to be in the state assembly or to be county executive or to be governor. I don't know about any other position," he said. "But in the end I think most people, for example [as] governor, judge me based on performance and what we're able to do."

Walker attended Milwaukee's Marquette University but left during his senior year to take a job with the American Red Cross. The Badger State executive has said recently that he's considering going back to school through the University of Wisconsin school system's "Flexible Options" program to finish his degree.

"For me it would not be for any requirement for example to be governor as much as it would be ultimately to send a message encouraging others," he said.

Walker touted the University's program as a viable option for non-traditional students to earn a degree, particularly adults like him, who dropped out of school to get a job, whether out of necessity or for an employment opportunity. The program provides online classes with more self-paced curriculums and flexible schedules.

Walker, first elected in 2010, gained national notoriety from conservatives after surviving the recall effort sparked by a budget-balancing initiative that stripped collective bargaining rights from most public unions. After an over year-long battle within the state, Walker beat Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, 53% to 46%.

Walker has repeatedly dodged questions about his plans for 2016, telling top GOP donors at a Las Vegas event last month that, "Any Republican who's talking about anything other than 2014 is doing a disservice both to the party and to the country."

And it makes sense that the incumbent governor isn't getting too far ahead of himself. He's up for re-election this year. Wisconsin surveys show Walker with a slight edge over his democratic challenger, Mary Burke.

Still, Walker has refused to commit to serving out a full, four-year term as governor if reelected later this year.

Filed under: 2016 • Scott Walker • Wisconsin
soundoff (63 Responses)
  1. Dean

    Look at Obama. Enough said.

    April 9, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    If I had to choose between a high school graduate versus someone with a college degree, I'm going with the college graduate. Albeit, having a college degree doesn't make you a genius. Look at GWB as a prime example. But take for instance our current President, a constitutional law professor & magna cum laude of the Harvard Law Review, versus GWB, a C student. I rest my case.

    April 9, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Shazzam, Sarge. It is starting sound like "The Onion" around here. Seriously? If anyone needs proof that not only will a Republican say anything, they can say it with a straight face and actually mean it.

    Are you kidding me? Is he actually discouraging young people from seeking higher education? Or, is he actually saying that even an uneducated idiot can be a Republican?

    April 9, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It appears that the only outreach program that the Republicans are embracing is the one that encourages the populce NOT to seek to improve themselves, their minds, or their circumstances by acquiring more KNOWLEDGE.
    The Republicans have realized that the ONLY way they will increase their ranks is by increasing the number of people that are stupid enough to vote for them.

    April 9, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yes go ahead and stay stupid America so that you can vote for Republicans.

    April 9, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Republicans: Just say NO to education!

    You can't make this up folks....

    April 9, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. cactusjaq

    It's better to not go to college... You'll just end up wasting a ton of money, and get indoctrinated my leftist propaganda anyways.

    April 9, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Denise

    Boss Hogg, Hannity and Beck are also college dropouts.

    April 9, 2014 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. bobo

    We need common sense.... not community organizers!

    April 9, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    A degree is not a necessity to seeking office, but being a bootlicker for the Koch Brothers and displaying contempt for vast numbers of people based upon their perceived views is not recipe for uniting a state, much less the country.

    April 9, 2014 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    It may not have been necessary for HIM, but can you imagine the outrage if President Obama didn't have one???

    What's next? Pig wranglers make good Presidents??

    April 9, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Still, Walker has refused to commit to serving out a full, four-year term as governor if reelected later this year.
    Of course not.
    He's been on the phone to the Koch brothers (the real ones this time), and they have informed him that Americans can't tell the difference between an intelligent professor of Constitutional Law and the hired screaming memees looking to take their country back because "the tax is too damn high".
    Hell they can't tell the difference between the Crawford Village Idot that put the nails in the coffin of our country and sunk our economy and the Black man who cleaned up his mess.
    So no, they said to the good Gov of Wisconsin, college IS optional, especially when we've got your back.
    They've instructed the good Gov NOT to sweat the college degree

    April 9, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    Doesn't take a B.A. to figure out how to get yourself bought...although it IS a load of BS.

    April 9, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  14. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Walker, only those that look like you can be dumb as doorknobs and still succeed. Those of us that don't, better have a college degree if we want to do something other than clean up after you uneducated ones.

    April 9, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Look at Obama. Enough said.
    We ARE.
    Whom we're NOT looking at is you Dean.
    Enough said.

    April 9, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  16. bill

    No college degree for higher office? Obama is proof of that.

    April 9, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. Denise

    If Palin can be on the top GOP ticket, enuff said....

    April 9, 2014 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  18. smith

    republicans will vote for anything if they think is will affect the democrats. they don't seem to realize that voting for an idiot will affect they too

    April 9, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  19. Denise

    Then again, there is highly educated lawyer Ted Cruz, who reads Green Eggs and Ham to us....

    April 9, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Tom l

    The only ones excluding is the gang here who thinks if you don't have a college education you must be dumb. I can honestly say that I can't recall anything that I learned from UC Irvine has helped me in doing my job. I'm not saying that you shouldn't go to college, and neither is Scott Walker. I think it's really ironic that Sniffit was whining about misrepresenting what he says when that's all he does all day long.

    April 9, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  21. Silence DoGood

    "College degree not a 'requirement' for higher office"
    Look at Obama. Enough said.
    Columbia University – B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
    Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude
    If you are going to start the next great conspiracy theory, you need to make it harder to debunk.
    At least go with the birth certificate thing.

    April 9, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    It may not have been necessary for HIM, but can you imagine the outrage if President Obama didn't have one???
    Girl please!
    Three different sets of rules in this country: one for Whites, one for "minorities", and one for women.
    You know what's up.
    The Koch brothers have told this doofus that ifhe decides to run for office all he needs is them in their corner because Aemricans are stupid enough to believe whatever it is they tell them to believe.
    The idiot Governor, with his high school eduction, is stupid enough to believe them even though President Romney stands as a shining example of how wrong they are.

    of how uneducated their assumption is.

    April 9, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Tom l

    Hey DMFO! I hope you're having a nice week. 🙂

    And welcome back Real TP. Good to see you back and us going at it again! 🙂

    April 9, 2014 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    A degree means nothing if the education stops once someone leaves school. Its clear that, for the GOP, a degree is at best useless or an indication of being a snob, hence their penchant for appealing to the peoples' base emotions like fear and envy, as opposed to trying to build something that has never existed before in the hopes that our children and grandchildren have a shot at a better life than the rest of us. Its clear that Walker finds the path of least resistance far more appealing that actually building something positive.

    April 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. Denise

    Who cares if he has a college degree or not? He will never become president! Obama has what these clowns only dream of!

    April 9, 2014 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
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