Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker whipped a CPAC ballroom crowd into cheers Saturday morning, to the point that he had to shout the end of his speech over the applause.
Walker told the audience that real reform doesn't happen in Washington, D.C., but in Republican statehouses and governors' mansions all over the country. He walked through the 2011 battles with labor and teachers' unions that rocketed him into the limelight, and he said that "in the states, to be successful, we have to be optimistic; we have to be relevant; and most importantly, we have to be courageous."
"All too often in politics, we talk in phrases like sequesters, debt limits, and fiscal cliffs," Walker said. "I don't know about all of you, but the people I talk to in Wisconsin, they talk to me about things like, 'Is my neighbor down the block who's been out of work for 6 months going to be able to find a job? Is my son or daughter who's a year out from graduating from college going to be able to find a job in our state or our community and stay here? Are my grandkids going to be able to afford the debts that are being passed on to them by our federal government?"
Walker also discussed "the dignity of work," and efforts to reform his state's food stamp program and reduce government dependency.
"I don't want to make it harder to get government assistance, what I want is to make it easier to get a job," he said. "We have a moral cause: It's not just about balancing budgets. It's not just about getting the economy going again."
When pundits discuss the shortlist of potential presidential candidates for 2016, Walker is mentioned behind such stars as Marco Rubio and Rand Paul, if he is mentioned at all. But the governor told Politico on Friday that he has not ruled out a White House bid.