Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker cast himself as a visionary Republican leader who could usher in a new round of tax cuts, prevent the spread of Islamic militants and scare off a resurgent Russia.
Walker enjoyed warm applause throughout his speech Saturday to the RedState Gathering crowd, including standing ovations when he vowed to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and pledged to scuttle the nuclear arms deal with Iran. The latter echoed his theme of a more strident, and muscular, diplomacy with threatening regimes overseas.
“The rest of the world has got to know that there can be no greater enemy, and no greater friend, than the United States of America,” he told the crowd at the InterContinental Buckhead.
The audience roared when he talked of the Kohl’s curve, named after the discount Wisconsin-based department store. The federal government could learn, he said, from Kohl’s model of selling bulk items at discount.
“We can lower the rate, broaden the base and increase the value of the people participating in the economy,” he said.
Walker made the rounds in Atlanta ahead of his RedState speech. He drew more than 100 supporters and onlookers to Lovie’s BBQ in Buckhead, around the corner from the InterContinental, to mingle and shake hands. Local backers U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, and state Sen. Judson Hill, R-Marietta, were among them.
“Great to be back in Georgia,” Walker said. “We’ve been here a lot the last couple months. We’ll keep coming back. The March 1 primary, incredibly important. We think we can do well here in Georgia, not just in Atlanta but across the state. And we’re going to keep coming back.”
Like the other eight presidential contenders who visited the convention this weekend, he also claimed to be the only Republican who can defeat Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. He struck a contrast, though, by highlighting his efforts to woo voters in Democratic strongholds such as Philadelphia and New York.
“If we’re going to take on a name from the past,” he said to applause, “we need a name from the future.”
Wisconsin’s governor has won three times – including a recall election – in a blue state and captured national attention for his battles with labor unions. Early stumbles raised questions of whether he’s ready for prime time. He visited Georgia in June and July.
Walker’s super PACs, Our American Revival and Unintimidated, took in 23 donations from Georgia in the first half of the year for a total of $838,250.
Notable donors: Former Georgia Revenue Commissioner Doug MacGinnitie; MiMedx CEO Pete Petit
Walker ranked third in the national polls Fox News used to select participants in Thursday’s first GOP presidential debate of the campaign.
Scott Walker quick hits
Biggest applause line: “If you elect me as a president, I will fight and win for you and every other American every single day I’m in office.”
Sharpest jab at a Republican: “I’m not going to spend all my time talking about the other Republicans. They aren’t my opponents. Hillary Clinton is.”
Sharpest jab at a Democrat: “If we’re going to take on a name from the past, we need a name from the future.”