At the dawn of 2015, Walker looked like the candidate to beat. He had just emerged victorious from his third statewide victory and looked set to benefit from the various fundraising committees and PACs that were setting up operations in preparation for a presidential bid. Walker’s team had tapped the veteran campaign strategist, Rick Wiley, to manage his eventual bid. But the strength of Walker’s organization was undermined by the imperceptible weaknesses of the candidate.
Walker was embroiled in two relatively manufactured controversies early in the year. In London, Walker was asked whether he believed in evolution, a question he answered by simply saying he would “punt.” Walker took a similar approach to a ham-fisted press effort to generate controversy when he replied, “I don’t know” to a questioner who asked if the Wisconsin governor believed that Barack Obama was a Christian. Neither of these questions was valid. The fact that Walker’s refusal to answer the inquiry about Obama’s faith led to the same level of controversy that would have erupted if he had replied in the negative suggests that a scandalous outcome was preordained. Still, these were ominous portents. It was Walker who declined to take a strong position, even one of frustration with the questions to which he was being subjected. This would turn out to be prologue to a series of embarrassing walk-backs from the candidate.