Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker delivered a message to protesters who were in the crowd, booing his speech at the Iowa State Fair this morning: “You want someone who’s tested? I’m right here. You can see it. This is what happened in Wisconsin. We will not back down.”
Walker was elected Wisconsin’s governor in 2010 and protests erupted in Madison after he proposed legislation to roll back collective bargaining rights for public sector unions. Walker survived a recall election and won reelection last year.
“The left doesn’t want me to be your nominee ’cause they know I don’t just talk, I actually deliver on my promises,” Walker yelled.
About 50 protesters took a bus from Wisconsin to Des Moines to be on hand for Walker’s speech at The Des Moines Register’s Political Soapbox. Walker supporters in the crowd cheered, while the protesters booed and a few waved signs periodically. Walker kept talking over the din.
“I am not intimidated by you, sir, or anyone else out there,” Walker said. “I will fight for the American people over and over and over and over again.”
At one point protesters and supporters of Walker right in front of the stage started wrestling over posters and Walker supporters ripped the protesters’ signs during the fracas. Tatiana Anderson was one of the protesters.
“Me and 50 other people came all the way from Wisconsin just to let people of Iowa know what is going on and we won’t stop here,” she said. “We will be everywhere Scott Walker is because he is representing us with all lies.”
Walker walked around the fairgrounds for a while, surrounded by protesters and the media. The latest CNN poll of likely Iowa Caucus-goers finds Walker in third place, behind Donald Trump and Ben Carson, and just ahead of Carly Fiorina — candidates who have never before held elected office. Walker began his speech to fairgoers with an emphasis on his status as someone who’s never before held federal office.
“I’ve got to tell you, these days I’m not just frustrated with the president and with the Democrats in Washington, I’m frustrated with the Republican leadership in Washington as well,” Walker said, to cheers. “…I talk to voters all the time to voters in this state and around the country who say ‘We want to send a message to Republican leaders in Washington that when you make promises on the campaign trail, we want to see it.'”
Walker faulted congressional leaders for failing to stop the president’s executive actions on immigration and for failing send a bill to the president’s desk that would “repeal ObamaCare.” Walker will release his plan to replace ObamaCare tomorrow (Tuesday). During a brief news conference on the state fairgrounds, Walker said as president he would “listen to the people” and not just the Washington “elites.”
“I’ll take on not just unions and not just the other party, I’ll take on my own party establishment which is what we did in Wisconsin,” Walker said. “There were a lot of people in our state legislature, initially, that didn’t want to take on the big, bold reforms that we did there. I think that’s similar to the kind of with the frustration that people have with the Republican leadership in Washington right now.”
Walker’s news conference ended on this note, as protesters started trying to drown out his remarks to reporters.
“Unlike other politicians, I will actually do what I say I’m going to do,” Walker said. “That’s why I’m the biggest threat to Washington-based special interest. I will actually do what I say I’m going to do.”
Two other presidential candidates are speaking at the fair today (Monday). Governor Terry Branstad quipped early today that the state fair has become the “center of the political universe.”
AUDIO of Walker’s speech
(Photos by Asya Akca)