While he took on a much more aggressive posture, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker often faced a difficult task in being heard during Wednesday night’s second Republican presidential primary debate.
The governor was asked just three direct questions by moderators over the three hours of the debate, which took place at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, CA and was broadcast by CNN. Walker was also able to interject himself into the debate between the 11 candidates leading the field multiple times, scoring an early hit against frontrunner Donald Trump. Walker told the real estate developer and former reality TV star “we don’t need an apprentice in the White House, we have one right now.”
Trump attempted to fire back at Walker later, criticizing Wisconsin’s financial picture under his leadership. The governor defended his record, noting that his administration helped balance a $3.6 billion budget deficit and cut taxes. “Just because he says it, doesn’t make it true,” Walker argued.
The governor also stood by previous calls for the White House to cancel a state dinner for China later this month and his opposition to raising the minimum wage, saying the focus needs to be on helping people get the skills needed to find better paying jobs. He also stood by calls to defund Planned Parenthood, undo a nuclear agreement with Iran, and rollback federal EPA guidelines aimed at curbing carbon emissions.
In a more lighthearted moment, candidates were asked to offer up their fantasy Secret Service codename. Walker said “Harley,” citing his love of riding Harley Davidson motorcycles.
The governor has been struggling in the polls for the past month, and many experts have said he needed to have a strong showing in this debate in order to remain viable in the months ahead. Walker was more assertive in going after other Republicans, but came in dead last when it came to actual time spent speaking – clocking in at less than nine minutes. By comparison, Trump spoke for nearly 19 minutes.
Walker will return to the campaign trail for the rest of this week, with stops planned in South Carolina, Michigan, and Iowa through the weekend.