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Political Analyst Says Walker Handled First GOP Debate "Well Enough"

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Republican presidential candidates (L-R) Ben Carson, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Donald Trump participate in the first prime-time presidential debate.

The first GOP debate of the 2016 presidential season is over. Ten of the 17 Republican hopefuls took to the stage last night in Cleveland in a debate that sometimes saw testy exchanges between the candidates. 

Not surprisingly, Planned Parenthood, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were recurring themes throughout the night.  And so were very pointed questions.

Gov. Walker has been outspoken on the fact that he does not believe there should be exceptions for abortion. One of the first questions he got was whether he would let a woman die to save the life of an unborn child.

“I’m prolife, I’ve always been prolife. And I’ve got a position I think is consistent with many American’s out there in that I believe that is an unborn child that’s in need of protections out there. And I’ve said many of times that that unborn child can be protected and there are many other alternatives that will also protect the life of that mother. That’s been consistently proven, unlike Hillary Clinton who has a radical position in terms of support from Planned Parenthood. I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago, long before any of these videos came out. I’ve got a position that’s in line with everyday America,” Walker says.

Walker also said that he knows how to improve the economy for everyday Americans. In his first term, he promise to create 250,000, however, the state only saw about half that number of new positions. Still, he talked up his plan for the country.

“I think most of us in American understand that people, not the government creates jobs. And one of the best things we can do is get the government out the way repeal Obama Care, reign in in all the out of control regulations, put in place an all the above energy policy, give people the education and the skills they need to succeed, and lower the tax rate and reform the tax code. That’s what I’ll do as president just like I did in Wisconsin," Walker says.

The debate went on for about two hours. During that time Walker took a couple of shots at Hillary Clinton, the best known of the Democratic hopefuls.

“It’s sad to think right now, but probably the Russian and Chinese governments know more about Hillary Clinton’s e-mail server than do the members of (the) United States congress, and that has put our national security at risk,” Walker says.

But with so many candidates vying for a spot on the GOP ticket, did Walker do enough in this debate? UW-Milwaukee urban planning professor and former state assemblyman Mordecai Lee says Walker certainly didn’t hurt his chances.  

“He didn’t want to blow it, he didn’t blow it. Expectations were high that he had to prove that he understood foreign policy, he demonstrated that. So in a sense good enough was good enough. It was exactly what his game plan probably was,” Lee says.

While Walker may have achieved his goal, he finished every answer before the allotted time was up giving him less face time than some of the other candidates. Lee says that may have been intentional.

“I think that was part of his strategy. The reason he didn’t have so much face time is that if some of his opponents were arguing with each other he would benefit by not participating in it. By not being argumentative. So I think it was kind of a duck and cover strategy that probably didn’t look that impressive at the moment, but will probably serve him well as we start seeing the reverberations of the debate,” Lee says.

There are eight other GOP sanctioned events scheduled before the start of primary voting in February. The next debate is scheduled for mid-September in California.

Extended interview with UW-Milwaukee urban planning professor and former state assemblyman Mordecai Lee

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