ONAWA, Iowa — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker worked the crowd at Miller's Kitchen in downtown Onawa on Wednesday, where most people showed up to hear him speak but a few others were more interested in their food.
Earlier in the day, the Republican presidential candidate had spoken to 50 people in a town hall meeting in Denison. The Onawa event was set up as an informal meet-and-greet, so he moved from table to table, speaking to groups of two or three, and eventually reaching all 20 people.
He didn't give a speech but listened to the concerns of people and responded with anecdotes of his upbringing in Plainfield, Iowa, Green Bay Packers football and some political views.
Walker said he repeatedly hears that Iowans want a president who won't compromise on Republican ideals of fiscal responsibility and a tough foreign policy.
"That's what people want," Walker, a two-term governor from a state that neighbors Iowa, site of the first-in-the nation presidential caucuses.
"People are concerned about the economy, they are concerned about the (federal budget) deficit," he added.
Walker spoke at the same venue where Republican candidate Rick Santorum drew nine people a month ago. Walker was a bit surprised to see a resident of his state, as Jeff Clayton, of Spring Green, Wisconsin, waited in one booth.
Clayton, a 1977 graduate of West Monona High School, was back in his hometown of Onawa. Clayton figured if his governor was campaigning, he should make the event.
"He's a good guy, I like him," Clayton said.
Ken Carlson, of Onawa, said he is making up his mind on the Republican candidates. Carlson said he likes aspects of most of the candidates and their stances, except the one who is leading in national polls: "Everybody but (Donald) Trump — I'd like to throw them in a blender, mix them together."
At the conclusion of his talks with people, Walker answered media questions about his assertion Monday that President Barack Obama should cancel an official state visit with the president of China. He contended nixing the trip would not hurt trade with states like Iowa or Wisconsin.
Walker called for the state visit to be canceled after U.S. stocks tumbled Monday, in part, due to China's slumping economy. He also said Obama shouldn't be offering a state visit to the leader of a country behind cyber attacks in the United States. He said Americans are worried about the cyber security threats.
"We have to take China to the woodshed. This is a responsible way to send a message," Walker said.