With Walker out of 2016 race, Obama loses a favorite foe

AP News
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Posted: Sep 22, 2015 10:53 AM
With Walker out of 2016 race, Obama loses a favorite foe

WASHINGTON (AP) — With Scott Walker out of the White House race, President Barack Obama is losing a favorite political foe.

For months, Obama has been challenging the Wisconsin governor on everything from his ardently anti-union positions to his shallow foreign policy experience.

After Walker signed a "right to work" bill in March, Obama issued a rare statement condemning a state's legislation. Focusing his ire directly at Walker, Obama said: "Even as its governor claims victory over working Americans, I'd encourage him to try and score a victory for working Americans."

A few weeks later, the president criticized Walker for saying he would revoke an Iranian nuclear deal if elected president. It's a "foolish approach," Obama said in an interview with NPR, adding that Walker should take some time "to bone up on foreign policy."

Obama also took a self-deprecating shot at Walker after the governor was criticized for not speaking up when former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani said the president doesn't believe in America.

"Think about it, Scott," Obama said at the annual Gridiron dinner. "If I did not love America, I wouldn't have moved here from Kenya." The president's comments made light of false rumors that he was born outside the U.S.

The president's jabs at Walker became so frequent that they prompted a reporter to ask the White House spokesman, "What does the president have against Scott Walker?"

"I can assure you, it's nothing personal," Josh Earnest, Obama's press secretary, replied with a laugh.

Walker's advisers tried to use Obama's barbs as proof that Democrats were worried about his prospects for electoral success. And indeed, Democrats did view Walker as a potentially formidable candidate in a general election.

But Republican voters ultimately didn't feel the same way. Walker withdrew from the race Monday amid financial trouble and questions about his preparedness for the national stage.

The White House had no comment.

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