Scott Walker Tells Tea Party Activists He Hasn't Flip-Flopped on Ethanol
Scott Walker continued to defend himself against suggestions that he's flip-flopped on a key issue for Iowa, the state that will host the first presidential nomination voting in early 2016, as he spoke Monday evening with Tea Party activists nationwide.
On a conference call organized by the Tea Party Patriots, the Wisconsin governor and likely Republican presidential candidate said he's been unwavering in his view that corn-based ethanol should eventually lose government protections and incentives.
Walker's potential rivals for the Republican presidential nomination have sought to highlight the times he has changed his views, including on ethanol and immigration. Such so-called flip-flops proved to be a significant vulnerability for the last Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in 2012.
"From our standpoint, our position is consistent," said Walker, who was first elected governor amid the 2010 Tea Party wave. "I talked about not wanting a mandate in Wisconsin as governor. We don't have one. I do not support one."
That was a reference to comments Walker made during his first, unsuccessful bid for governor in 2006, when he was critical of mandates to blend ethanol with gasoline.
At a March 7 agricultural summit in Iowa, however, Walker said he supports the Renewable Fuel Standard, which sets the amount of renewable fuel that must be blended into gas sold in the U.S. At the time, he also called for the eventual elimination of government support for ethanol and other biofuels, as well as wind energy.
"What I said in Iowa ... was that I think we need to phase it out," he said. "I don't approve of putting in new mandates. I want to phase them out."
The call provided an opportunity for Walker's political committee, Our American Revival, to request contact information from participants. It also served as a fundraising drive for the Tea Party Patriots, a Woodstock, Georgia-based group that said it wanted to raise $25,000 from the event.
Walker took just three questions during the session and mostly delivered his standard speech, including references to his confrontations with organized labor in Wisconsin.
"You go big and you go bold to win the center," he said. "You don't have to go to the center to win the center."