GREENVILLE, S.C. — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker gave supporters for his likely 2016 run for the presidency a little history about the Occupy Wall Street Movement Thursday.
The lesson was part of a pitch to voters on how he overcame liberal opposition in his home state as a Republican.
South Carolina GOP Chairman Matt Moore introduced Walker to 150 supporters at a Columbia Marriott luncheon as a “proven election winner,” noting the Wisconsin Republican’s three election wins in four years.
Recounting his tumultuous year with Wisconsin’s unions, Walker described the political battles he faced in 2011 when he proposed legislation that would greatly reduce the government union’s collective bargaining power.
“There were about 100,000 plus protesters in and around our capitol. People forget this. Before there was Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement, it started in Madison, Wisc. It was ‘occupy our capitol,’ and eventually when they lost that battle and they lost the court battle, they moved on to Wall Street, and they went elsewhere around the country. But it started in Wisconsin.”
“They brought in the drums and they brought in the horns. It started with the people in our state. There were people who were bussed up from Chicago, and then they came in from New York, New Jersey, and Washington, California, Nevada — you name it. It was for an intended purpose. They were seeking to intimidate us.”
“They didn’t just protest. They had protests in front of my home — not the government’s residence — my family home, where four years ago my sons were still in high school,” he said pointing out that his elderly parents were also living in the house as well at the time.
Walker also described an instance when he greeted Special Olympics athletes in his state and protesters costumed as zombies attempted to disrupt the event.
“I withheld the instinct to lash out,” he said, remembering the moment.
The trip to South Carolina Thursday comes about 17 months after he campaigned for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley when she launched her 2014 re-election. Walker received positive reactions from supporters in both Columbia and Greenville.
Attendees to both the Columbia and the Greenville events appeared pleased with Walkers’ remarks.
Ed Felix, a Lexington resident, told The Daily Caller he likes the Wisconsin governor because of his track record with handling the unions.
“I’ve long been a supporter of his. I’ve followed his trials and tribulations in his home state and I like the way he stands on principle.”
“I would hope that he would bring the same mentality to the federal government,” Felix said. “I worked there for 33 years, and I’ve seen the abuses of the federal government unions. They slow down work.”
In Greenville, Walker discussed issues ranging from Hillary Clinton’s “reset button” gaffe in Russia when she first became secretary of state to his state’s education record to Wisconsin’s voter ID law.
“As of week ago this Monday Wisconsin is now the 25th state in the country to have the right to work, the freedom to work,” he said to applause at the TD Convention Center, noting that Gov. Haley congratulated him and welcomed him into the coalition of right-to-work states.
Ahychel Mullikin, a Greenville County resident, told The Daily Caller she was impressed with Walker’s message. Mullikin says she is a naturalized American citizen who came to the U.S. with her family 20 years ago through legal channels.
“I think that whole dependency on government (issue) — the loss of work ethic. Even people that come here now expect everything to be given to them and when my family came here, that was back in the day when you had to have a sponsor. You had to have somebody that would vouch for you — get a job, have a home, and you would not be dependent on the government. So for him to speak out and say, ‘No, we’ve got to get back to that — not ‘What can the government hand out for us, but what can we do for ourselves?'”
She added, “I’m all for people coming over here. I would not have had the opportunity to go to college — be a business owner had our family not come here, but we did it legally. We did it the right way, and we worked our way up, which is the American dream.”
Fred Payne, a member of the Greenville County Council, called Walker a “fighter.”
“He’s proven he’s a winner and I think he’d be a great candidate,” Payne said. “I’m not sure if he’s my final choice, but he’s in the top couple.”