Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has thrown down the gauntlet against former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush as the potential presidential candidates set their sights on winning over differing types of voters in Iowa.
"I’m not a supporter of amnesty, I know there are some out there [who are]," Walker said during one speech, clearly targeting Bush’s support for opening up a doorway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, according to The Wall Street Journal.
And in another bid to draw a distinction between him and Bush, Walker took a veiled swipe at Bush’s family connection and wealth at an Iowa fundraiser over the weekend, saying, "I didn’t inherit fame or fortune in my family."
The carefully crafted comments came as the two front-runners in the GOP race for the White House drew up separate battle lines as they set out to conquer the Republican caucus in the Hawkeye State.
Walker is targeting the state’s conservative Republicans, and recently declared that he backs a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, supports a proposal to make gun sales easier, and is in favor of a "right to work" bill opposed by unions, the Journal reported.
Bush, conversely, is willing to risk the wrath of conservatives by going after moderates and those ethnically diverse voters who sit on the fence by touting his support of Common Core education standards and immigration reform.
Contrary to Walker, Bush vows he is not going to attack his rivals personally. Over the weekend, he told a crowd in Sioux City, "I’m not going to tear down my fellow Republicans." Instead, he vowed to "keep an eye on the broader mission of winning the presidency with an uplifting message."
Their opposing tactics will face an intense grilling in Iowa, the state that starts the presidential voting, as the two hit the campaign trail over the next few months in a crowded GOP field for 2016, according to the newspaper.
"These candidates are going to be seriously vetted as voters decide whether they want a fresh face like Scott Walker or a trusted face like Jeb Bush," said Bob Vander Plaats, a religious conservative leader in Iowa.
"There’s the appeal of that new-car smell, and then you have to look at how it operates. You always see people getting more conservative on their way to Des Moines."
During his Iowa swing, Bush tried to convince voters that despite his family connections he was just a regular guy, attending an agricultural forum as well mingling with voters at a Hy-Vee cafe, Jethro’s BBQ and Pizza Ranch, the Journal said.
Last year, he angered conservatives when he said that many illegal immigrants come to the U.S. out of "an act of love" for their families.
But in Iowa he’s trying to highlight his conservative values, and made a point of saying that securing U.S. borders is vital to the country’s future. "The rule of law is a sacred value in our country," he said.
At the agricultural forum, though, The New York Times reported
that Bush also reiterated his stance on giving illegals a pathway to citizenship, declaring, "This is the only serious, thoughtful way to deal with this, and we better start doing it because this is a competitive world."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.