- The Washington Times - Monday, August 17, 2015

Fired-up Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker faced down protesters at the Iowa State Fair on Monday, saying he wouldn’t be silenced by their heckling, in a confrontation the GOP presidential hopeful appeared to relish as he tries to rally supporters in the early caucus state.

“I am not intimidated by you, sir, or anyone else out there,” Mr. Walker said at one point, to applause and cheers from the audience at the Des Moines Register soapbox. “You want someone who’s tested? I’m right here . This is what happened in Wisconsin. We will not back down.”

Mr. Walker, who won election in 2010, survived a 2012 recall then won re-election in 2014, said he stands out in the crowded Republican field because of his record of taking tough policy stands straight to voters, and winning elections on them.

During a question-and-answer period, Mr. Walker also took on an issue near and dear to many Iowa caucus-goers, calling for a gradual phase-out of a federal mandate that has boosted the state’s corn market.

“My argument is it’s here right now, you’ve got a whole industry based on that — you [need to] support that,” Mr. Walker said. “I would like to see all the different standards and mandates bunched together and phased out over time, which is why I said over the next couple years.”



The soapbox is a traditional part of the pre-caucus festivities at the state fair, and draws most of the candidates, who deliver remarks then take questions from the assembled fair-goers. Questions range from big foreign policy questions to parochial concerns such as the Renewable Fuel Standard.


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After opposing such state-level mandates in Wisconsin, Mr. Walker said at an Iowa forum earlier this year he’d be willing to go forward on the Renewable Fuel Standard, which has required corn-based ethanol to be blended into almost every gallon of gas in the U.S., but that the EPA could bring more certainty to the market in its guidelines.

He also said a long-term goal would be to address market access issues to get to a point where the standard wouldn’t be necessary — a sentiment he echoed Monday at the state fair, which gave him and other 2016 contenders the opportunity to meet potential caucus-goers up close.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who spoke after Mr. Walker, touted her personal relationships with world leaders like Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and painted a contrast with Democratic presidential front-runner and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was in Iowa over the weekend.

“I know more world leaders on the stage today than anyone else running, with the possible exception of Hillary Clinton, only I didn’t do photo ops — I did substantive meetings,” Mrs. Fiorina said to applause. “I know, whether it is sitting with Vladimir Putin privately or sitting with Bibi Netanyahu privately or doing business [in] China for decades or understanding may of our Arab allies, I know this: When the United States of America does not stand with our allies and confront our adversaries, the world is a very dangerous place.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham, speaking in the late afternoon, said as president he would accept a political trade where he would raise tax revenue by closing down some of the breaks Americans currently claim, in exchange for Democrats agreeing to changes such as raising the retirement age for Social Security.

“I’m not gonna raise taxes, sir, but I would eliminate a deduction to pay down debt,” the South Carolinian told the audience.

Mr. Graham defended bipartisanship to the skeptical crowd, saying without cooperation from both parties he won’t be able to fix Social Security or build up the military to confront the Islamic State, China and Russia.

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