Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is taking a decidedly more conservative line on social issues such as gay marriage and abortion in order to woo Christian voters, The New York Times
Walker, the son of a Baptist preacher, opposed abortion in his victorious gubernatorial re-election campaign
against Democrat Mary Burke, but his tone was comparatively mild, emphasizing that "the final decision" should be between "a woman and her doctor."
He has often de-emphasized core issues important to social conservatives to survive politically in Democratic-leaning Wisconsin.
On illegal immigration, Walker
has touted his opposition to amnesty but left some observers thinking that he is "hard to pin down on the question."
He is against abortion after 20 weeks and in cases of rape and incest, but preferred not to answer questions on these issues in the weeks before the gubernatorial election.
He has now told supporters that he backs a constitutional amendment that would define life at conception, effectively outlawing abortion and some forms of birth control, the Times reported.
The governor has all along opposed single-sex marriage. Wisconsin appealed unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court to safeguard its gay marriage ban. At the same time, he has said that he'd rather focus on fiscal issues
. As he gears up for a possible White House bid, his message to supporters now is that they can count on him to fight for values important to voters, the Times reported.
His positions, though unchanged, have toughened as he rebrands to embrace not just fiscal but also social conservatism. His struggle against state unions is now portrayed in cultural terms as a battle against extremists, the Times reported.
He said that he would seek "guidance from the Lord" before deciding on a presidential race. Political operatives associated with campaigns run by social conservatives such as Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Michele Bachmann in 2012 have been brought aboard Walker's team. He also hired a former director of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, Gregg Keller, to work on his staff, the Times reported.
Walker emphasized in a statement to the Times that he is a "traditional-marriage," pro-life, "full-spectrum conservative."
He aims to be a candidate palatable to both the Republican establishment and the party's social conservative base.
Walker wants to position himself as "the most conservative person possible who has the ability to win in a general election," Matt Moore, chairman of the Republican Party of South Carolina, told the Times.
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