Jul 16, 2015 7:10 PM
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
AMHERST – Scott Walker vows to “keep coming back” to New Hampshire, now that he’s launched a Republican presidential campaign.
In a one-on-one interview with NH1 News, the Wisconsin governor said “we’re coming back next weekend on my Harley which will be a lot of fun. We’re going to do town hall meetings.”
Walker spoke with NH1 News after holding a rally at Joey’s Diner in Amherst. It was his first stop in the first-in-the-nation primary state since announcing for president back home in Wisconsin on Monday, but only his fourth trip to the Granite State this year.
Instead, Walker’s been spending a lot more time in Iowa, the first caucus state, which has a more socially conservative GOP electorate. Asked if Iowa’s a better fit for his mix of social and fiscal conservatism, Walker said “New Hampshire’s actually good.”
“I think voters in New Hampshire are independent. There’s an independent streak even amongst Republican primary voters. I think they want someone who, in our case a lot of folks put pressure on us to back off from doing the right thing. We didn’t back down. I think that’s the kind of approach that voters in New Hampshire and across the country want,” Walked added.
The “right thing” Walker was talking about was his 2011-2012 battle against public sector unions over collective bargaining rights. The fight, and Walker’s victory in the ensuing gubernatorial recall election, made him a national hero to many conservatives.
Walker said his record in Madison makes him stand out in an extremely field of GOP presidential candidates.
“You look at all the candidates, the 15 or so Republican candidates in the race and I think what makes us unique is there’s fighters who’ve yet to win and there are winners who’ve yet to fight. We’re the only one who’s done both. I think in the end if people want someone who can fight and win for America, I’m their guy,” Walker told NH1 News.
Walker’s launch this week comes as Donald Trump, a rival for the GOP nomination, is dominating the headlines, thanks to his jump in the polls and his controversial comments.
Asked if he’s being overshadowed by Trump, Walker said “no, in the end Donald Trump can speak for Donald Trump. I’m going to talk to people about what I’m for. And I think in the end we’re going to have a lasting presence both in the primaries and in the general election because voters want someone who not only talks about things but does them.”
Earlier, speaking from the bed of a pickup truck to supporters gathered outside the diner, Walker appeared to be looking past the primaries, saying “we not only want to do well here in New Hampshire in the primary, we want to come back and do well in the fall of 2016, cause I think it’s important when you look at the dozen or so states that are going to determine the next president, I’m in one right now and I live in another one of the twelve, Wisconsin.”
Inside the diner, Walker talked about his humble upbringing, saying “it’s great to be here at Joey’s because I remember my first job as a kid was washing dishes at the countryside restaurant, washing dishes. So I’m sure I could probably go in the back here and find some guys that could put me to work washing dishes.”
While he wouldn’t criticize fellow Republicans, Walker had no problem slamming President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Asked by NH1 News how he would rate Clinton’s tenure as America’s top diplomat, Trump said “I think at best it’s incomplete. I’d give her a poor grade. You look at, other than accumulating a lot of frequent flier miles, where in the world did she have a role that isn’t more messed up today than it was before she and the president took office. It’s a horrible record.”
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