Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker spent Saturday afternoon in Iowa wooing conservative voters during a speech that sounded an awful lot like a presidential campaign kickoff.
Speaking to about 1,200 people at the conservative Iowa Freedom Summit, Walker -- who’s been dancing around a presidential bid for months -- made his clearest case yet for the White House.
The Republican governor touted his “common-sense conservative reforms” as a success in his traditionally Democratic-leaning state. To a crowd generous with their applause, he ran through his record—from defunding Planned Parenthood and opting out of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to pushing concealed carry and a new voter ID law.
“If they can work in Wisconsin, they can work anywhere in the country,” said Walker, adding that "if you're not afraid to go big and go bold you can actually get results.”
His speech wasn’t just about his track record, he also showed his foreign policy chops—weighing in on how to handle threats to national security posed by ISIS and other terrorist groups.
"When you have an administration who doesn't take seriously those threats, who doesn't invest the resources needed to take those threats seriously, you open the door to chaos and that's something we all should have learned from 9-11," Walker said. "It's not a matter of if there will be attempts, it's a matter of when, and we need to be prepared.
The governor received a standing ovation—before jetting off to California, where he will deliver similar conservative-crowd pleasing remarks to the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce in Palm Springs alongside Sens. Ted Cruz (R-FL) Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) all of whom have hinted at having eyes on the White House.
Walker has previously been mentioned as a potential presidential contender in 2016, but he hasn’t given much indication of his future plans. However, now his speeches and schedule suggest that an official announcement could be imminent.
Next month, for example, the Wisconsin governor will speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C. before heading to New Hampshire to address the New Hampshire Republican Committee.
Meanwhile, other presidential hopefuls spoke at the summit in Iowa including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. However, Walker seemed to be the crowd favorite—receiving a standing ovation. He ended his speech promising "to come back many more times in the future.”
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