"I love America." That's how Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker kicked off his presidential campaign in Waukesha Monday. He's the latest candidate to join the crowded Republican side, but he enters far from the bottom. He's topping nearly every poll in Iowa and made a strong showing at early gatherings.
And the big three of his announcement, in his words: Reform. Growth. Safety.
"Unfortunately, we have a government in Washington that just can't seem to get the job done. You know, Washington, or as I call it, 68 square miles surrounded by reality," he said to laughs. "The good news — it's not too late, we can turn things around."
Walker touted his accomplishments as governor, most famously — or infamously — his record taking on the unions and taking away their collective bargaining rights. "Since I've been governor, we took on the unions and we won," he said to applause.
He also spoke about defunding reproductive rights organization Planned Parenthood and enacting concealed-carry and voter ID laws in Wisconsin.
He called for government reform and said he wants to move "power and money out of Washington and send it back to our states in key areas like Medicaid, transportation, workforce development and education."
Walker didn't lay out a specific economic plan but said the country needs a "pro-growth economic plan that helps individuals and families earn" and its economy rebuilt "from the ground up in a way that is fresh, organic and dynamic."
"As long as you don't violate the health and safety of your neighbors — go out and start your own career, build your own business, live your own life," he said. He also advocated lowering taxes to "broaden the base and increase the volume of people participating in our economy."
"I believe you can spend your money far better than the federal government — and when we do the economy will get a whole lot better," he said.
Walker also touched on what he called "true safety" in the speech, blasting President Obama for "leading from behind."
"We have a president who drew a line in the sand and allowed it to be crossed. A president who called ISIS the JV squad." About Russia, he said "With Obama and Clinton, Putin has encountered years of mush."
In the next week, Walker will try to make his case across the country, making stops in Nevada, South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire — and eight stops in early primary state Iowa. But move over, Hillary Clinton's Scooby Van. Walker's taking a Winnebago.