GREENVILLE, S.C. — Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a conservative favorite and possible 2016 GOP presidential contender, came to South Carolina on Monday to help Gov. Nikki Haley kick off her re-election bid. His appearance — joined by fellow governors Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry — was mostly about Haley, but after his speech I asked him what he thought about the effort by some Republican lawmakers to defund Obamacare.

“I think in the end, the only caution I put up is, I don’t think you should shut down the government for it,” Walker told me. “I think people, at least in my state, Republicans like me want less government, want limited government, but we want government that works, and I don’t think shutting things down makes anything work.”

“We should make the case for limited government,” Walker continued, “and also make the case for why electing more Republicans to the Senate and, ultimately, a new president will help us remove Obamacare. But shutting [the government] down is not the option. Other options to me are wide open.”

Walker is a hero to many on the right for his work to limit the collective bargaining powers of some public employees unions in Wisconsin. He survived the near-death experience of a recall election last year and is now making some early trips — first to Iowa, and now to South Carolina — that indicate interest in a 2016 run. But he has stayed away from any talk of a Walker candidacy. “At least on the Republican side, I think it’s too early,” he told Fox News earlier this month. “It’s a disservice to the party and the country.”