Scott Walker: ‘I Ran Against a Woman’ and Won

Speaking to donors and others at Mitt Romney's E2 Summit in Utah, Walker pointed to his re-election victory in November 2014 against Democrat Mary Burke.

FREEDOM SUMMIT

Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin, speaks during the South Carolina Freedom Summit hosted by Citizens United and Congressman Jeff Duncan in Greenville, South Carolina, U.S., on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on Friday offered up a not-so-subtle suggestion that he has what it takes to beat Hillary Clinton, recalling the time he "ran against a woman." 

Speaking to donors at Mitt Romney's E2 Summit in Utah, Walker pointed to his re-election victory in November 2014 against Democrat Mary Burke, and suggested that it's "quite offensive" for Democrats to suggest that women only care about abortion.

"The women I talk to care about a whole bunch of things," he said. 

"They care about making sure our schools are living up to the expectations of our children and our grandchildren. They care about making sure our sons and daughters who go to college can graduate with a degree and actually find a job," he said. "They care about being able to make decisions about their health care, instead of having the government do it through Obamacare."

The governor has drawn extra attention from Democrats and abortion-rights groups this month, after saying that he'll sign legislation calling for a 20-week abortion ban in his state, even if it doesn't include an exemption for rape or incest.

Walker, who is expected to join the race for the GOP nomination for president, said Republicans shouldn't shy away from their views, but that tone matters.

"I don't think the answer is to run away from your positions," he said. "Just make it clear to the American people that this is where you stand."

In 2016, Walker said his party should "transfer that same strategy" in trying to confront Democrats, "whether it's me or somebody else."

Recently, Republican women, including presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, have also been asserting loudly that their party holds the best ideas for women and that Democrats shouldn't hold a near-monopoly on their vote because of social issues.

Walker, who has in recent months taken a tougher stance on immigration, also celebrated the U.S. as a land of opportunity for immigrants, as he criticized a government that he said fosters "dependency" instead of providing opportunity.

"The reason they came here was because it was one of the few places left in the world where it didn’t matter what class you were born in, it didn’t matter what your parents did for a living," he said. "In America, you can do and be anything you want."

Several Republican candidates have struggled to present themselves as acceptable both to the party's primary voters, who often support deportations of immigrants, and donors, who often favor a path to legal status. Walker faced accusations of flip-flopping on immigration in March, after he dropped his support of "amnesty" for the millions of immigrants living in the country without authorization. 

Kendall Breitman contributed reporting from Utah.

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