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Here's a look at Gov. Scott Walker's responses during the debate and additional context.

"I'm pro-life, I've always been pro-life."

Walker has a long history of proposing anti-abortion measures going back to his days in the Legislature. When he ran for governor in 2010 he had a 100 percent rating from Right to Life Wisconsin.

As governor, he signed into law bills requiring women to have an ultrasound before having an abortion and banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy with no exceptions for cases of rape or incest. Another law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have hospital admitting privileges has been challenged in the courts.

During the 2014 election, with his poll numbers down among women, Walker aired a political ad that abortion rights advocates called "disingenuous" and "misleading."

"There's no doubt in my mind the decision of whether or not to end a pregnancy is an agonizing one," Walker said to the camera. "That's why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options. The bill leaves the final decision to a woman and her doctor. Now, reasonable people can disagree on this issue. Our priority is to protect the health and safety of all Wisconsin citizens."

"I defunded Planned Parenthood more than four years ago."

Walker's first budget made Planned Parenthood ineligible for the state family planning program, reducing about $1 million out of the estimated $18 million the organization received in state and federal funding in 2010.

Conservatives have recently argued for finding a way to divert other federal funding that passes through the state away from Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin said in 2011 that the $18 million figure is misleading because it includes money the organization is reimbursed for providing a range of health services to poor residents through Medicaid.

On why he changed his position on immigration from supporting a pathway to citizenship: "I actually listened to the American people. People want a leader who’s actually going to listen to them."

Walker has certainly listened to his conservative base in Wisconsin.

He didn't back down during the 2011 debate over his proposed changes to collective bargaining, despite as many as 100,000 protesters gathering at the state Capitol, the vast majority in opposition to the changes, and more than 900,000 people signing a petition to trigger a recall election, which he won.

A Marquette Law School poll in April found 70 percent of respondents opposed Walker's proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System. The final budget reduced the cut to $250 million. A majority (54 percent) opposed eliminating the cap on the statewide voucher program, which Walker signed into law. And 62 percent of respondents didn't want to see Walker run for president.

"The rate of people working is almost five points higher than it is nationally."

Wisconsin's labor participation rate was 68.6 percent in February, which was 5.8 points higher than the national rate.

Wisconsin's rate also has declined over the last decade, though not as rapidly as the national rate. In February 2005 the labor participation rate was 70.5 percent. That was 4.6 points higher than the national rate.


Matthew DeFour covers state government and politics for the Wisconsin State Journal.