Stirring a standing ovation, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker told ALEC members Wednesday that he would terminate President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran if elected president.
The Republican hopeful mainly touted his economic record at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s 42nd annual meeting in San Diego, but spent about 5 minutes lashing Obama as “leading from behind” in foreign affairs.
At a breakfast session attended by most of the 1,300 lobbyists and legislators, Walker said the United States needs to put “steel in front of our enemies,” including Russia, to deter what he called surges into sovereign nations.
And he mocked Obama for not following through on his “line in the sand” promises regarding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
And contrary to the president calling climate change the greatest challenge to future gerenations, Walker said it was instead radical Islamic terrorism — and vowed to lift restrictions on American troops already in Iraq and let them fight alongside Kurdish and Sunni factions.
“There are times when America must fight,” he said. “And if we must, Americans, we fight to win. There is no greater friend, no worse enemy than the United States of America.”
He called Ronald Reagan the best “national security president” in his lifetime and recalled how as a child he tied yellow ribbons to trees for the U.S. hostages in Iran, eventually freed when Reagan took office. He said Iran hasn’t channged.
Wearing a dark suit, Walker spent a half-hour before the talk in front of the podium shaking hands and posing for photos. He doffed his suit jacket for his remarks, caught by a half-dozen TV cameras, and wore a long-sleeved light blue dress shirt.
With a security team nearby, the former ALEC member exited the stage and left the ballroom after a 23-minute talk that repeated lines of earlier talks on “commonsense conservative reforms.”
Walker, 47, gave a stump speech filled with applause lines — 30 by this reporter’s count — at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel downtown.
He began with a moment of silence for the fallen Marines and sailor in the Chattanooga attacks. He used the phrase “I’m an optimist” several times — although a reporter for Britain’s Guardian newspaper, watching from the side, noted he didn’t smile much.
“You’re the ones making it happen,” he told the crowd. He noted Wednesday’s chanting protesters, but depicted them as pikers when compared to what he called the original Occupy movement — not the critics of Wall Street but the union-heavy forces that occupied his Statehouse in Madison.
“The good news is we didn’t back down,” Walker said, and listed his achievements, including lawsuit and school-choice reforms, defunding Planned Parenthood, photo-ID voting requirements, concealed-carry weapon freedoms and tax cuts including property taxes he said would be lower in 2016 than 2010, when he was elected.
“Who else in America can say that?” Walker declared in a talk that mentioned no other presidential rival.
He told the story of shopping for a shirt at Kohl’s (the department store chain based near Milwaukee), where through discounts, coupons and “Kohl’s Cash” brought the price down from $29 — “and the next thing you know, they’re paying me to buy a shirt.”
He said his economic reforms would use the same principle — lowering taxes to “broaden the base of people taking part in our economy.”
More details to come.