No Senators need apply: Tea Party hero Scott Walker on 2016

Power Players

Politics Confidential

Gov. Scott Walker has a simple idea for how to create the GOP's “perfect ticket” in the 2016 presidential election -- and Republican stars like Paul Ryan, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz don’t make the list.

The Wisconsin Republican, who first gained national attention in 2011 for passing a controversial budget bill that stripped Wisconsin public employees of collective bargaining rights, told “Politics Confidential” that only governors and former governors should be in the running for the party’s presidential nomination -- and not members of Congress.

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor,” he said. “Somebody has got to come in who's got a proven record of success of turning things around and bring that record to Washington and take on everything, not just one party or the other, but take on the entire establishment.”

Though Walker says he’d be the president of Paul Ryan’s fan club, if one existed, and calls Rubio, Paul, and Cruz good guys, they don’t meet his criteria of being “exceptionally removed from Washington.”

As for his own 2016 ambitions, Walker said he’s focused on being the governor of Wisconsin for now, but he’s not ruling out the possibility of a run.

Walker, a tea party favorite, was asked what he thinks of the group today, following the government shutdown. He said it was a mistake for Republicans led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R - Texas, to push the strategy that led to the shutdown.

“What I've learned as a governor is then you've got to have an end game,” Walker said.

“I, like others, was a bit frustrated with the shutdown, because I thought as much as Obamacare needed to be front and center, I don't think the way you make the compelling case to the American people that we can do better is by shutting things down,” he said.

Looking back at the 2011 showdown over his budget bill, Walker said “one of the most embarrassing moments” was when he accepted a prank call from blogger Ian Murphy who was posing to be billionaire Republican donor David Koch.

“In the couple of days before that, there was an awful lot of talk, not just about what we were doing in Wisconsin but about me personally,” Walker recalled. “And I think, in a way, a little bit of it had gone to my head. And so, for me, it was rather humbling.”

For more of the interview with Walker, and to hear about the criticism he gives of the Romney 2012 campaign in his new book “Unintimidated: A Governor's Story and a Nation's Challenge,” check out this episode of “Politics Confidential.”

ABC News’ Stephanie Smith, Alexandra Dukakis and Tom Thornton contributed to this episode

Bob Brant, Robert Brant Jr., Mark Borenstein and Bill Lainge contributed to production.