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Ahead of Romney, Walker Builds Case for 2016 at RNC Meeting

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Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker called for a fresh, new presidential candidate in 2016 in a speech to the Republican National Committee (RNC) Winter Meeting in Coronado, California–just 24 hours before Mitt Romney was set to address the group.

Walker talked about crying as he watched Romney select Paul Ryan as his running mate in 2012, as Paul grew up so near to Walker’s childhood home. Still, as Romney’s name–a last-minute addition to the schedule–is floated as a potential repeat candidate for 2016, Walker heavily emphasized his push for a “new, fresh” leader going into the next Presidential race.

Walker spoke of his first run for governor of Wisconsin in 2009. As he, his wife and family sat down to talk and pray about the heavy decision, he considered the “damage” done to the state at that time. “We were afraid, as parents, that our children were going to grow up in a state that wasn’t as great as the Wisconsin we grew up in,” he recalled.

“I was proud to say in my [second inaugural] address that because of our reforms in the state of Wisconsin, they’re now growing up in a state that is even better than the state that I grew up in.” He listed himself along with Governors Rick Scott of Florida and Rick Snyder in Michigan as the top three GOP governors Democrats targeted in 2014.

“I’m excited about what’s happening across this country in our states. I’m an optimist. I’d like to see more of it. But can I tell you very candidly, I look at our country and I’m worried our country the same way I was worried about my state back in 2009.” Walker continued, “I hope you join with me tonight in saying that as parents and grandparents and as Americans, the idea that the next generation might grow up in a country that’s not at least as great as the one we grew up in is fundamentally unacceptable.”

“So tonight I want to share a vision with you,” Walker told the crowd. “I think we have a unique opportunity going forward, not only for the good of this party, but more importantly for the good of this country. To find a new, fresh leader out there that can take big, bold ideas; take ideas that come from outside of Washington, from the states and all the way down to the grassroots and do so in a way that hopefully has the backing of a track record, a proven track record of success will show that common sense, common sense conservative reforms can work not just in Wisconsin, but they can work all across America.”

Walker went on to share his thoughts about the future. He recalled his extensive campaigning efforts–three campaigns in four years–and his effectiveness in conveying a vision to voters.

Walker expressed his belief that the big loser on November 4th wasn’t just the president, but Washington. “If there’s one thing people know to be inherently true is they don’t care much for what’s going on in our nation’s capitol.”

He reminded the audience that national union leaders had campaigned against him while “we had the President of the United States, we had Clinton, we had Warren, we had just about every other surrogate from Washington come into our state and say this guy needs to leave, we need to get this guy out.”

He added: “We were able to win because we had a proven record and it was a contrast to what they saw with the big government special interests out of Washington.

“I think we can carry that same sort of message when it comes to 2016 as well,” he said.

Walker also took shots at Hillary Clinton, widely considered the likely Democratic Party nominee.

“I think the other big loser on November 4th wasn’t just Washington and the President, it was Hillary Rodham Clinton. Let me tell you why. The reason Hillary Clinton was the big loser is because she embodies Washington. She lives in Washington, she worked in Washington for this President and his administration. She worked in Washington when she was part of the United States Senate. She lived in Washington when she was part of the White House along with her husband, when he was President of the United States. You look at everything people dislike about Washington and she embodies it.

“If we’re going to be up against particularly Hillary Clinton, we’ve got to offer a new, fresh approach and ideally it’s one that comes from the states,” he said.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is set to address RNC meeting attendees at a special event on the USS Midway Friday night.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana


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