- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 19, 2015

As he lays the groundwork for a possible White House run with potential voter and donors in early presidential states, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday touted the national network of support he’s built up through running in and winning three elections in four years.

“Believe it or not, we had almost 300,000 donors over the past four years, largely because of that [2012] recall election — in all 50 states, including a number of you here earlier who said ‘I gave to your campaign,’” Mr. Walker said at a Republican party event in Columbia, South Carolina. “Only Mitt Romney has more donors on the Republican side than that, and obviously he’s our former nominee.”

It’s possible that Mr. Walker could square off in the 2016 GOP presidential primary contest against former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has a deep fundraising network of his own from his time as Florida’s chief executive and the ties to his family. Mr. Walker and Mr. Bush have been jockeying for the top spots in early polling on the possible 2016 GOP field.

Roughly 70 percent of people who gave donated $75 or less, Mr. Walker said, calling it a “real grassroots effort.”

In his address that came during a multi-day swing through the early presidential state, Mr. Walker went on to check off several conservative boxes in touting legislation he’s signed on guns, voter identification and, more recently, right-to-work in a state with deep ties to labor unions.

He also took several shots at former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“One of the biggest differences, I think, between a potential Hillary Clinton campaign and some of the others that we could offer if we chose to get in this election would be [the] simple fact that I think Hillary Clinton and others like her embody Washington,” he said. “They believe in a top-down, government-knows-best, you-do-what-we-say-and-when-we-say-it approach that has failed in the past.”

Mr. Walker called for a vision of building the economy from the “ground up” in a way that is “new and fresh and organic.”

He was also well-received when he ventured into the topic of foreign policy, dinging Mrs. Clinton’s “reset button” she presented to her Russian counterpart in 2009.

“A reset button,” he said. “I don’t know about all of you, but I believe in America we need a commander in chief who will stand up and once and for all call out that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to us all.

“We need a leader in America who [will] once and for all stand up and affirm that Israel is actually an ally of ours and [we’ll] start treating that country like an ally,” he continued to applause. “And we need a leader who will look the American people in the eye and say we will do whatever it takes — whatever it takes — to make sure that radical Islamic terrorism does not wash up on American soil. I’d rather take the fight to them than take the fight to us here on our own soil.

“That’s the America I want to live in,” he said. “We should be a leader again in the world. We should show the world what leadership means again.”

Mr. Walker added that he’s an “optimist — and I believe with the right leadership, we can make a difference.”

“That’s why we’re here,” he said. “That’s why we’re spending tonight here and tomorrow here and we’ll be back here many more times in the future. … We are seriously looking at whether or not we can step up and fill that void in American leadership.”

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