Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Monday that Republicans do not need to moderate their views to win voter support and that he will run as a conservative if he decides to seek the Republican Party presidential nomination.
"To win the center, you don't have to go to the center. You have to lead," Walker told conservative activists.
Walker made the comment during a telephone town hall meeting with conservative activists, part of a fundraising event for Tea Party Patriots, The Washington Post reported
His comments followed a weekend trip to New Hampshire in which Walker and one of his top 2016 rivals, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, both campaigned for early positioning in the 2016 presidential race.
As he campaigns in New Hampshire and across the country, Walker has worked to draw a sharp contrast between his brand of populist conservatism and the positions taken by Bush, who has broken with many conservatives on issues such as illegal immigration and Common Core educational standards, The Washington Times reported
During the telephone session, Walker discussed his victory in the June 2012 Wisconsin recall election, which took place a year after the state legislature enacted far-reaching changes to Wisconsin labor laws for some public-sector employees, including an end to collective-bargaining powers.
Walker defeated his Democratic Party challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by 8 percentage points in the recall election
. In November 2010, Walker, then Milwaukee County executive, beat Barrett by about 6 percentage points to win his first term as governor.
"Literally, literally about 100,000 protesters," Walker said of the scene at the Wisconsin state capitol in early 2011. "People from all across the country… NEA, AFSCME, all the big government unions bosses were in from Washington."
Walker thanked conservatives for their prayers and support during his 2012 recall campaign race and his successful re-election campaign last year.
"We were not intimidated," he said. "We stood up to death threats."
Indeed, numerous people angered by Walker's victory in the recall election took to Twitter to call for his assassination, according to Twitchy
Later in his town hall remarks, Walker criticized the Obama administration's handling of foreign policy challenges posed by the Islamic State and expressed concern about the administration's handling of the Iranian nuclear threat.
Walker also responded to a question from Tea Party Patriots President Jenny Beth Martin over his position on ethanol. Her question noted that while Walker had opposed a Wisconsin effort to mandate its use in midgrade gasoline, he recently said in Iowa that he would "go forward on continuing the [federal] Renewable Fuel Standard
Walker responded that his position has been "consistent," adding that "we've talked about not wanting a mandate."
Walker said that while he wants the federal standard phased out, he would not push to immediately abolish it.
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