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Walker says he's not taking stand on birthright citizenship

Gov. Scott Walker appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on Sunday.

Gov. Scott Walker again had to follow in Donald Trump's wake Sunday morning, this time in the order of appearance on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Trump has dominated the talk in the race for the Republican presidential campaign as a brash political outsider, taking over the top spot in the polls, some at Walker's expense.

And Walker has been showing a new, more aggressive tone in his presidential campaign recently, something The Washington Post and other news sources have observed is a play at Trump's base.

That continued Sunday morning with Walker slotted right after Trump on ABC's newsmaker interview list, when the governor had a chance to respond to Trump saying he was "honored" that Walker wanted to copy him but that Walker was failing in leading Wisconsin.

Walker again countered by saying Trump was using Democratic talking points but conceded that Trump was scratching an itch for some conservative voters.

"I do think that there is some real frustration out there," Walker said. "It's why you not only see his numbers up, you see some of the other candidates who've not run for office before. They're angry at Washington. Heck, I'm angry at Washington. I'm angry at my own party leadership who told us they were going to repeal Obamacare and we still don't see a bill on the desk of the president. I think that's where the real frustration is.

"In the end, if people want someone who's going to fight — but not just fight, fight and win and actually get results and do it without compromising common-sense conservative principles, I'm the candidate."

The Washington Post reported last week that Walker and his campaign manager told fundraisers on a conference call that the campaign would be better in three areas: protest, passion and policy.

In Sunday's interview, he referenced a verbal confrontation with a protestor at the Iowa State Fair last Monday as an example of the new style for his campaign.

And in some policy discussion, Walker responded to a direct question by host George Stephanopoulos by saying he wouldn't seek to repeal or alter the 14th Amendment, which establishes birthright citizenship. Trump's immigration plan proposes to take away citizenship from children born in the U.S. whose parents came to the country illegally.

Walker's declaration, however, came only after prodding from the host and after Walker went through some campaign talk about being confronted on immigration while in Iowa.

"We need to address the root problem, the issue, which is we need a president who's going to secure the borders, not just give lip service to it like we've seen over the past couple of decades," Walker said. "Secure the border and enforce the laws. My point all week has been and continues to be, as it was last month, until we address those core problems, we're not addressing the real issue and Americans are right to be upset."

Stephanopoulos said it was a simple yes-or-no question on whether Walker supported the 14th Amendment.

"I said the law is there and we need to enforce the laws, including those that are in the Constitution," Walker responded. "My point is having this debate about anything else when we don't have politicians who are committed to actually securing the border and enforcing the laws, which means very simply in our country, E-Verify — making sure that every employer ensures that the people working for them are legal to work in this country — that will resolve the problem we're talking about, and that's what I've been talking about this week."

After confirming that he wasn't looking for changes to the 14th Amendment, Walker continued to press the point that he thinks the public is tired of inaction from politicians.

"I hope the one thing that people would see, I had 100,000 protestors on a different issue," Walker said, referencing the 2011 protests on his Act 10 legislation that curtailed collective bargaining for public-sector unions. "I had all sorts of death threats and all sorts of other abuse. I think people in my state will tell you, whether they agree or disagree with me on the issue, the one thing I do is when I make a promise, I follow through on it. My promise is to truly secure the border and enforce the laws of this great country."

Walker also discussed criticisms of the health-care plan he unveiled last week and took shots at Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton in the interview.

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Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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