Examining some of Scott Walker's campaign missteps

Gov. Scott Walker announced he was dropping out of the Republican presidential race during a news conference on Sept. 21, 2015 at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, Wis. (Mark Hoffman photo)
Gov. Scott Walker announced he was dropping out of the Republican presidential race during a news conference on Sept. 21, 2015 at the Edgewater Hotel in Madison, Wis. (Mark Hoffman photo)

Gov. Scott Walker struggled with a series of missteps as a presidential candidate before deciding on Sept. 21, 2015 to withdraw from race.

In February 2015 alone, Walker refused to answer questions about world affairs while in London, told an American conservative group that facing protesters as governor prepared him to take on ISIS and said he didn’t know if President Barack Obama is a Christian.

More recently, in the days before he left the race, the Wisconsin Republican declined to answer what he termed hypothetical questions.

PolitiFact Wisconsin examined two issues that proved to be stumbling blocks for Walker -- a wall with Canada and birthright citizenship. Both are related to immigration, an issue that vexed him from the start.

(Indeed, in March 2015, Walker earned a Full Flop on our Flip-O-Meter after changing from supporting to opposing a pathway to citizenship.)

Canadian wall

Three weeks before he left the race, with his once-high poll numbers sagging, Walker appeared on NBC’s "Meet the Press." He ended up producing headlines suggesting that he favored building a wall on the nation’s northern border with Canada similar to one that is often discussed for the nation’s southern border with Mexico.

Walker later denied advocating for a northern wall, saying what he described as a "legitimate issue" was the concerns expressed to him about enough staff in the federal government to provide security along the northern border.

Our In Context article fleshed out what Walker actually said. Here was the key exchange between him and host Chuck Todd:

Todd: "Do you want to build a wall north of the border, too?"

Walker: "Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at."

Birthright citizenship

Also in August 2015, Walker was criticized as having stated different positions on birthright citizenship, which relates to the constitutional amendment that says all persons born or naturalized in the United States are citizens of the United States.

Our In Context article found that Walker’s statements over the course of a week did vary considerably.

Asked by a reporter if birthright citizenship should be ended, Walker replied: "Yeah, to me it’s about enforcing the laws in this country. And I’ve been very clear, I think you enforce the laws, and I think it’s important to send a message that we’re going to enforce the laws, no matter how people come here we’re going to enforce the laws in this country."

The same evening, Walker backpedaled after being asked to explain his comments, suggesting he had spoken quickly during a "three-hour roving gaggle."

It wasn’t until the end of the week, on ABC’s :This Week," that he eventually said he does not support changing the Fourteenth Amendment.

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