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Thursday, December 25, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 40.0° F  Mostly Cloudy
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Scott Walker speech a high point for Wisconsin delegates at GOP convention
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Wisconsin delegates cheer Scott Walker's speech in Tampa on Tuesday. Pictured are Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch (second from left) and former Gov. Tommy Thompson (second from right).
Credit:Molly Stentz, WORT

TAMPA, Fla. -- Sol Grosskopf has been getting his picture taken an awful lot at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. And it's easy to see why: everywhere he goes, Grosskopf proudly wears his cheesehead hat, which he's adorned with a Romney-Ryan pin. He's usually quoted in media reports saying the country is in a "cheesehead revolution."

But Tuesday night was extra special for Grosskopf and all the conservative Wisconsinites in Tampa. Governor Scott Walker took the stage to thundering applause to deliver a speech on national TV. Walker, of course, has become a hero to conservatives nationwide for beating back attempts to recall him in June for curtailing public employee bargaining rights and reducing state spending on education.

Walker at first seemed a bit uneasy in the national spotlight. Without waiting for the cheers to die down, he plunged right into his speech. From the convention floor, he was inaudible for a few minutes, until the cheers finally settled.

Grosskopf said Walker's speech was familiar to him. But that made it all the sweeter. "I have heard that speech so many times," said Grosskopf, a delegate from Wisconsin's 8th congressional district. "It shows he is consistent in everything he does."

Walker kept to the theme of the evening's events: private industry good; government bad. Many speakers played on the "We Built It" theme of the convention; capitalizing on a quote from President Obama the Republicans are taking out of context.

"As was the case in Wisconsin two years ago, too many Americans think our country is headed in the wrong direction," Walker told the crowd. "But Mitt Romney understands, like I understand, that people -- not governments -- create jobs. With that in mind, my administration is making it easier for people to create jobs in Wisconsin."

The speech was clearly a high point for Wisconsinites, who are basking in the praise of conservatives here. Wisconsin delegate Tyler Vorpagel, who is district director for U.S. Rep. Tom Petri (R-Oshkosh), said after the speech: "We all get to see him on shows and hear him every day. It's great to get to share him." He said of the mood here: "You really can't put it into words. There's a feeling of electricity."

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson -- who is running for U.S. Senate against U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) -- was also proud.

"Scott captured the mood. And most importantly, he captured what everybody's thinking -- that Mitt Romney did a very daring thing by picking Paul Ryan," Thompson said from the floor. "And by doing this, he's telling the world that they're going to solve the problems and not keep postponing them."

Another Wisconsin star is scheduled to speak Wednesday night. U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), the vice-presidential nominee, is scheduled to take the stage at 9 p.m.


Joe Tarr is in Tampa with reporters from WORT 89.9 FM covering the Republican National Convention and will move on to Charlotte to cover the Democratic National Convention. Molly Stentz, WORT News & Public Affairs Facilitator, contributed to this report.

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