This story is from The Hill.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) delivered a fiery speech in Iowa on Saturday, wowing the conservative crowd with a passionate argument for small government and his own lengthy resume.
The Wisconsin governor, in rolled-up shirtsleeves, paced the stage as he blasted big government and touted a long list of conservative reforms he’s pushed through in blue Wisconsin.
The governor also showed a rhetorical flourish that’s largely been absent from his previous campaigns, drawing the crowd to its feet multiple times.
“There’s a reason we take a day off to celebrate the 4th of July and not the 15th of April,” he said, almost yelling as his voice grew hoarse. “Because in America we value our independence from the government, not our dependence on it.”
Walker’s speech had something for every element of the activist crowd. The governor touted his three victories over Democrats and recall win as well as his state-level education reforms. Each new policy he helped pass drew cheers: Voter ID laws, education reforms, tax cuts and defunding Planned Parenthood.
The biggest question for Walker as he ramps up for a race is whether he has the fire in the belly and political skills to stand onstage against the other candidates. And in his first major Iowa address, he may have done a lot to dispel notions that he lacks charisma.
When he said he won reelection as Milwaukee County Executive in an area where President Obama won by a two-to-one margin, some in the audience gasped.
“If you get the job done the voters will actually stand up with you,” he said before contrasting his record with Washington’s deadlock.
The preacher’s son also showed a personal side — and spoke in religious terms to thank Iowans who prayed for him as he faced death threats during his fight against the public sector unions, including one that promised to gut his wife “like a deer.”
Walker made sure to establish his Iowa roots — saying he’d lived there until third grade until his father got a job as a minister in Wisconsin — before promising to return “many more times in the future.”
More from a different article from The Hill:
Scott Walker’s stock is soaring after a triumphant return to Iowa.
The Wisconsin Republican governor delivered a pitch-perfect speech to a room packed with influential Hawkeye State conservatives on Saturday, walking them through his robust resume and ideology with a passion that surprised many.
Activists say Walker came out on top after 10 hours of candidate speeches.
“It was a clear Walker victory. He had expectations coming in here, he was on everyone’s shortlist and he had to meet those expectations and I thought he far exceeded them,” said former Iowa Republican Party political director Craig Robinson. “I thought his speech was just perfect, and I thought his delivery was perfect. The delivery really surprised me.”
Walker held his own against Ted Cruz, the event’s other star. While the Texas senator always turns in commanding performances with conservative crowds, the governor next door helped himself the most by making a strong first impression with many Iowa activists who simply knew him from his showdown with the unions.
He offered something for almost every type of conservative, rolling through his record of both social and fiscal accomplishments, drawing big applause by knocking “radical Islamic terrorists” and touting legislation he backed to relax gun control laws and cut taxes.
He spoke about his faith in a natural way, and in one sentence managed to mention that he was both the son of a pastor and had Iowa roots (Walker spent his early years in the state before his dad moved to a church in Wisconsin).
Most importantly, he did it all with a folksy yet fiery delivery that had observers gushing and brought the crowd to their feet.
The biggest question surrounding Walker heading into the weekend is whether his charisma could stack up against the other White House contenders. It was a worry Walker shared — one Republican who talked to him backstage said the governor expressed concern that people would view him as “bland.” But as the strode onstage with his shirt sleeves rolled up and paced about the floor, those worries vanished.
“Walker found a way to talk about himself, talk about the country and talk about Iowa in perfect proportionality, and he did so with a style that was very easy and engaging,” said Republican pollster Frank Luntz. “He connected to these people — you could see it.”
[…]But Walker made a big splash in his first Iowa appearance of 2015, stealing the spotlight from his likely foes.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever heard him live and he was tremendous. It was a great speech,” said Sam Clovis, a conservative kingmaker and the GOP’s 2014 nominee for state treasurer. “That was something special.”
Since we are ramping up to the 2016 election, I took some time to list out my 6 favorite candidates for the GOP nomination.
Here they are:
- Wisconsin governor Scott Walker
- Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal
- Texas governor Rick Perry
- New Mexico governor Susana Martinez
- Indiana governor Mike Pence
- Texas senator Ted Cruz
Five out of six candidates are governors, because I really think we need to prefer people who have executive branch experience – experience at building consensus with Democrats in order to get sensible bills passed that will help middle class Americans. I would like to see Ben Carson run, but I think he would make a better HHS secretary than President. Ohio governor John Kasich is a good choice, but he doesn’t have the same accomplishments that the governors in my list have. Walker is my first choice because he took on the public sector unions and won.
There are also some people I don’t think should be President. I like Marco Rubio, but his support for amnesty disqualifies him as a candidate. Jeb Bush is disqualified because he is too supportive of amnesty and Common Core. Mitt Romney’s record is too supportive of abortion and gay rights. Romney also supports global warming alarmism. I think Romney is a better Democrat than he is a Republican. Rand Paul is only good on fiscal issues. On social issues Paul is a moderate. And foreign policy, Paul is a Democrat. Chris Christie is really a conservative Democrat.
If you want to learn more about Scott Walker, I recommend Walker’s new book. I actually got the audio version, and it’s read by governor Walker himself.