Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker took his shadow campaign on the road to New Hampshire this morning, addressing a large crowd in the Concord High School gym.
WKOW reports that he received an enthusiastic reception from the crowd — including a standing ovation after the speech. Not so happy to see him were union protestors who stood outside the venue chanting “Stop the war on workers” and “Scott Walker: stop trashing the middle class.”
If Walker runs and becomes the GOP nominee, you can expect organized labor to go all out all over the country to defeat him. And this time for labor, it will be personal.
Otherwise, Walker was well received, and the crowd was attentive as the governor tried out themes and issues for the coming campaign.
Walker kicked off his speech by touting his close geography growing up near fellow Republican Wisconsin natives Reince Priebus, Republican National Committee chairman, and Rep. Paul Ryan, recalling that he and Ryan “both flipped hamburgers as kids at McDonald’s.”
Walker’s speech relied on familiar themes, touting reforms during his tenure in Wisconsin to argue that success should be measured “by how many people who are no longer dependent on the government.”
He also suggested his two sons could take off a semester of college to campaign with him, should he run.
Fielding a question on whether he would abolish the federal income tax, Walker said the idea “sounds pretty interesting” but stopped short of giving it his endorsement, emphasizing cuts in other areas of the government.
Presented with a blue baseball cap from a pro-gun member of the audience asking about foreign policy, Walker immediately strapped the hat on his head and threw up an air rifle pose, grinning.
Walker said the biggest national security threat facing the U.S. was” radical Islamic terrorism.”
“I am not proposing to engage full-scale boots on the ground, but I’m not taking that off the table,” he said.
“We need a president who will do whatever it takes,” Walker said. “We need to have a clear mission and we need to follow through on that mission.”
Criticizing President Obama, Walker said the U.S. has “an ally in Israel, and we should start acting like it.”
He also took aim at presumed Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton, saying she was among those who “I think believe that you grow the economy in Washington.” He also dinged her gift of reset button to Russia as secretary of State.
“Let this be a time in history where we can look back and tell future generations what we did to make America great again,” he concluded.
This appears to be a developing theme for Walker:
Walker also took aim at Democratic President Barack Obama and polices he said measured success based on how many people were dependent on the government.
“We should measure success on just the opposite, on how many are not dependent on the government,” Walker said.
This is the kind of thing that drives liberals crazy and is red meat for conservatives. It never fails to get a huge round of applause.
Here are a few excerpts from the speech today.
In more formal settings, Walker is still a little stiff. But in these town hall type forums, he appears relaxed and on his game. The frontrunner moniker sits very easily on his shoulders and he’s getting very good at making a connection with his audience at an emotional level.
It was Walker’s first visit to New Hampshire since 2012. He promised to return “many times” in the future.