An interesting observation from Steve Hayes on Donald Trump’s “Fox News truce” interview this morning:

From Hayes’ piece:

In an interview Tuesday morning on Fox & Friends, Trump twice went out of his way to criticize his competition. In the first instance, he took a question about his standing in polls and turned it into a blistering–and highly inaccurate–attack on Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. And in the second, Trump bypassed an opportunity to hit back at criticism from Hillary Clinton and chose instead to turn his answer into a shot at Jeb Bush…At a press availability in Exeter, New Hampshire, on Monday, Clinton unloaded on Trump, calling his attacks on Megyn Kelly “outrageous” and “offensive” and saying Trump “went way overboard.” On Fox & Friends, Trump listened to a soundbite from that press conference, where Clinton said she’d gone to Trump’s wedding because she thought it’d be “entertaining,” before turning serious. “Now that he’s planning to run for president? It’s a little more troubling.” Doocy said to Trump: “So she’s saying she went because it was the yuks, not the bucks.” Trump, who never misses an opportunity to respond to even the slightest perceived insults, shrugged off Clinton’s shot. “Yeah, sounds like she feels she made a mistake,” he said with a deep laugh. “It’s sort of an interesting thing.” Trump repeated his claim that he simply gave money to buy access to politicians, but said now that he’s a politician he recognizes that the practice is “not really a good thing for the system.”After passing on a chance to hit Clinton, accused Bush of selling access to his donors.

I’ve engaged in outright, self-serving cronyism for many years, which I guess is bad for the system — so let’s punish that other guy for it.  Asked about his polling surge in Iowa (tempered some national polling erosion), Trump promptly pummeled Scott Walker’s stewardship of Wisconsin’s economy.  The reality television star and real estate mogul alleged that Walker racked up big deficits while his state’s economy underperformed.  Appearing on Fox later in the program, Walker accused Trump of recycling inaccurate “Democrat talking points,” even after multiple rounds of fact-checking:

WALKER: Well he’s using the Democrat talking points. Just more of the same. I get attacked by Hillary Clinton yesterday, and attacked by him with the Democrat talking point this is morning. That’s probably part of the reason why I won three times for governor in a blue state in the past four years, because those talking points just aren’t right. We actually inherited $3.6 billion deficit, we fixed it. We did that while cutting taxes by some $2 billion, in fact property taxes are lower today than when we first took office. We did that while defunding Planned Parenthood and built a rainy day fund that’s now 165 times bigger than when we took office. Our schools have the second highest scores ACT in the country. Our state is growing well. In fact, our unemployment rate was over 8%, it’s now down to 4.6%. So Donald Trump’s just using same old tired talking points of the Democrats. They didn’t work in the past, they’re certainly not going to work in Iowa.

HOST: So you’re saying you do not have a $2.2 billion deficit?

WALKER: No, couldn’t be more wrong. That’s been Politifacted time and time again. He’s just wrong, he just keeps repeating it. But the Democrats repeated that as well, which is why they lost because the facts are on our side.

Walker’s controversial budget reforms are working, he’s reduced Wisconsinites’ tax burdens, and the state’s unemployment has dropped precipitously. As the governor notes, there are solid reasons why voters have elected him three times since 2010. As for the deficit line Trump has been using for weeks, it’s just not true:

Politifact, no friend to Scott Walker, gave Trump a “mostly false” rating when Trump used a similar argument in the past, writing that the $2.2 billion “was not an actual deficit” and the projections of shortfalls were “overstated.” The explanation is simple: Those projections are based on budget requests not approved budget numbers. “That’s because the standard for projections made in the months leading up to the next budget cycle is to include all the funding requests made by state agencies — even though, in reality, those requests always get trimmed. That serves to temporarily inflate the actual picture. In the end, the 2015-’17 budget approved by the Legislature and signed by Walker in July 2015 was balanced.”

Is Trump aware that he’s dinging Walker with outdated, false attacks that closely resemble those employed by the governor’s failed 2014 Democratic opponent? Or is he ignorant of the facts, just as he appears to be regarding the Planned Parenthood controversy, on which he’s literally (if unknowingly) adopted the organization’s formal stance on federal subsidies? For what it’s worth, Planned Parenthood praised Trump today, urging “the rest of the GOP field to wake up” and follow his lead against defunding. Meanwhile, like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush, Walker is facing incoming fire from Hillary Clinton, who claimed that he’s “delighted in” hurting students and making college less affordable. Walker’s rapid response:

Incidentally, Hillary’s grand new $350 billion college “affordability” plan doubles down on failed statist policy. Ahem:

The federal government has boosted aid to families in recent decades to make college more affordable. A new study from the New York Federal Reserve faults these policies for enabling college institutions to aggressively raise tuitions. The implication is the federal government is fueling a vicious cycle of higher prices and government aid that ultimately could cost taxpayers and price some Americans out of higher education, similar to what some economists contend happened with the housing bubble. Conservatives have long held that generous federal-aid policies inflate higher-education costs…

But remember, it’s feel-good intentions and easy applause lines — not cold, hard outcomes — that matter.