Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's rousing speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit
on Saturday has early speculation favoring his "go big and go bold" call to Republicans.
Walker received multiple standing ovations during his speech, with news outlets reporting that the crowd was more receptive to him than to other potential GOP 2016 hopefuls including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.
"If you’re not afraid to go big and go bold, you can actually get results," Walker told the enthusiastic crowd.
"There's a reason we take a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not the 15th of April," said Walker, pacing the stage in rolled up shirtsleeves. "Because in America we value our independence from the government, not our dependence on it."
"In every fight for conservative principles Gov. Scott Walker has stood firm," David Bossie, president of the conservative group Citizens United, said when he introduced Walker. "This country is a better place because Scott Walker answered the call to lead."
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus told Time,
"Scott Walker’s a guy you want to have a beer with — a Miller Lite."
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Walker is a "proven vote-getter" after he survived a recall election, then was re-elected to a second term in 2014. "I think he will relate well [in Iowa]," Time quoted him as saying.
Walker highlighted his conservative bonafides on abortion and immigration, among other subjects, but he also sees himself as having a better ability to reach voters outside the conservative base.
"Walker was relatable, humorous, substantive, and more fiery than the crowd expected," Matt Strawn, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, told Bloomberg.
School teacher Joan Van Tersch told Bloomberg Walker is "focused on what we need to be focused on — that's empowering us, not the government. He speaks very well."
Council Bluffs Tea Party activist Lenny Scaletta was impressed with Walker's words about his humble beginnings in Iowa, the son of a minister and secretary who had to work his way through college flipping hamburgers at McDonald's.
"I'd want to talk to him, but from what he's said and his passion and his work history I'd definitely support him," Scaletta said told Bloomberg. "If it was between him, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush, by all means I'd be behind Scott Walker 100 percent."
The Freedom Summit, arranged by Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, is seen as the kickoff of the Republican presidential campaign season, though no candidates have officially announced a campaign yet.
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