By Associated Press - Saturday, February 21, 2015

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading Republican contender for the White House in 2016, said Saturday he doesn’t know whether President Barack Obama loves his country.

“You should ask the president what he thinks about America,” Walker told The Associated Press while in Washington for a weekend meeting of governors. “I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.”

Earlier in the week, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said at a New York event, with Walker in attendance: “I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”

Democrats have assailed Giuliani for questioning the Democratic president’s love of country, and they urged the potential field of Republican presidential candidates to rebuke Giuliani for his comments.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, another possible 2016 candidate, said he didn’t think “it helps to question the president’s patriotism or motives.”

Pence said in an interview that Giuliani is “a great American” who is “understandably frustrated with a president who lectures us on the Crusades, but seems incapable of calling radical Islamic violence by name.”

SEE ALSO: Rudy Giuliani doubles down: I’m not racist — but Obama doesn’t ‘love America’

Walker, who was in the room for Giuliani’s initial comments, said in a television interview earlier this past week that Giuliani can speak for himself, he repeated that sentiment Saturday.

“Rudy Giuliani is perfectly capable of defending his comments,” Walker said. “I know I love America. I know there are plenty of good Americans, Democrats and Republicans and undecideds who share that same belief.”

Asked about Obama’s patriotism, however, Walker said, “I’m unqualified to make that statement one way or another because I’ve never had that conversation with the president.”

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