The final question for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in a Thursday media conference on the 2012 presidential race was decidedly non-political — and Walker did turn it into a strong non-partisan message.
How does he feel about the return of professional NFL referees to the game?
The governor, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, reporters and a roomful of supporters in the Wauwatosa GOP Victory Center erupted in laughter. But then Walker got serious — or semi-serious.
Walker said he had been on a broadcast show earlier Thursday morning, "and they said, 'And now, the governor who brought the NFL to their knees.'
"I'd like to claim credit for that, but I think — no," Walker said.
"I was with a number of governors on Wednesday morning, and to a person — now, granted, Washington state Gov. (Christine) Gregoire wasn't there — but every other governor said we got robbed.
"Aside from just being a Packers fan, we know it here in Wisconsin, not just in Green Bay but across the state, it's a great part of our state's heritage, it's a big part of our attitude on the day after a game, and it's a big part of our economy.
"So for people to continue to have confidence in the NFL — some people tried to make hay out of the fact that the NFL referees are a union — I don't care whether they're a union or not, I just want them to be back, and I'm glad they're back.
"I just made my opinions very publicly well known, and again, I'm just appreciative that they got a resolution, because I think all of us — that's the one thing that unites Republicans and Democrats in this state is Pack football.'"
Aside from finding some common ground in our politically polarized state, Walker said he thought it would put some more fight in the Packers.
"I'm an optimist," he said. "The one good thing I'd like to see coming out of this is (that) I'd like to see, starting with the Saints on Sunday, the Packers go undefeated all the way through the Super Bowl. Because I think there's nothing more motivating than the feeling that you've been wronged to motivate those players to move forward.
"It's not just in terms of the playoffs, or home field or no home field. In the short term, it's even enthusiasm for when the Packers are winning, just like when the Brewers were on the hunt for a while there for the wild card spot.
"People buy more Packers gear, they're out watching more games together, that helps our restaurants and our bars and our taverns. It's a good thing for our economy.
"If you ask Ron (Sen. Johnson), he's been in manufacturing for years — productivity is higher after a Packers' victory.
"So we like this for all those reasons."