Republican political strategist Mark Salter mocked Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for comparing the fight against Islamic State terrorists to his battle with union protesters in his home state.
Salter, an adviser during Arizona Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, posted a link to a National Review article on Facebook slamming Walker’s remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference, according to Business Insider.
Salter also made his own colorful comment on the social media site Thursday, saying, "I want to like him but Scott Walker is kind of a dumb a**."
Salter became notorious during the 2008 campaign as an outspoken McCain staffer who sent a series of lively messages to the media dubbed "Saltergrams," Business Insider reported. He’s also collaborated with McCain on several nonfiction books.
The controversy started during the question-and-answer period of Walker’s acclaimed speech at CPAC when he was asked how he would deal with international threats like that posed by the Islamic State (ISIS).
"I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on American soil," Walker said. "If I can take on 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world."
later appeared on Bloomberg Politics' "With All Due Respect" to clarify his off-the-cuff remarks during a chat with hosts John Heilemann and Mark Halperin.
"My point was just, if I could handle that kind of a pressure and kind of intensity, I think I'm up for the challenge for whatever might come, if I choose to run for president," Walker said.
The National Review’s Jim Geraghty
said that by equating ISIS militants to union protesters "he may have made a genuine unforced error."
Geraghty said, "That is a terrible response. First, taking on a bunch of protesters is not comparably difficult to taking on a caliphate with sympathizers and terrorists around the globe, and saying so suggests Walker doesn’t quite understand the complexity of the challenge from ISIS and its allied groups.
"Secondly, it is insulting to the protesters, a group I take no pleasure in defending. The protesters in Wisconsin, so furiously angry over Walker’s reforms and disruptive to the procedures of passing laws, earned plenty of legitimate criticism.
"But they’re not ISIS. They’re not beheading innocent people. They’re Americans, and as much as we may find their ideas, worldview, and perspective spectacularly wrongheaded, they don’t deserve to be compared to murderous terrorists."
Despite the furor, Walker has gone from being an outsider to a front-runner in the race for the White House while leading in several polls along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
Walker has distinguished himself
among a large field of potential 2016 presidential contenders by having achieved widespread support across a broad range of Republican voters, according to the National Journal.
"The real opportunity for the party is if someone like a Scott Walker can unite this populist wing with the more establishment wing. I think that's a stronger general election candidate than just going down the establishment side [for a nominee] with a lack of energy on the populist wing," John Weaver, chief strategist for McCain's 2008 campaign, told the Journal.
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