Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty spoke to a crowd of approximately 175 during the lunch hour at the Iowa Historical Museum. This was his first public appearance after announcing his formal candidacy online last night. He said Iowans deserve to hear the truth, and that President Barack Obama has not been telling Americans the truth about the financial crisis that we’re in.
He said that Washington, D.C. is broken and our situation as a nation is precarious. Pawlenty explained, “We’re not just running out of money, we’re running out of time.” His message mainly focused on fiscal discipline, debt reduction and spending cuts. Pawlenty noted, “Government money isn’t free, we either pay for it in taxes or we pay for it in our children’s debt.”
Pawlenty promised to share hard messages to audiences tomorrow in New York and Florida. He said he is going to Wall Street to say if elected the “era of bailouts, handouts, and carve outs is over.” In Florida he explained he would tackle entitlement reform and advocate for a pay for performance plan which would give incentives for good medical decisions. He also supports federal block grant funding for Medicaid to the states so that they can find ways to implement the program in their states and save money.
The hard truth he’s brining to Iowans is that he plans to work to phase out all subsidies – including ethanol. He explained that we “simply can’t afford it.”
He noted that these things may not be popular, but said “someone has to stand up and level with the American people… Someone needs to lead. I will.”
Pawlenty criticizing Obama’s reputation of utilizing race, class and gender politics to divide the American people said, “No President deserves to win an election by dividing the American people.” He claimed that he was able to unite the Republican Party and unite our nation. This is a theme that I heard from people who came out in support of the Governor today. Several people I spoke with felt he had be ability to bring different factions of the Republican Party together. One person said that while he would fight for his ideals, she appreciated the tone he used and that he didn’t seem divisive. Another thing that was an positive for those supporters was his record of governing conservatively in a liberal state.
That record is something that Governor Pawlenty used to contrast himself with President Barack Obama. They faced several similar issues with a similar political environment, but their approach and results were completely different. For example addressing health care reform, Pawlenty said he had done that at the state level, but with no mandates and no take overs of the health care system.
Pawlenty said that President Obama promised change in 2008, and he has delivered it and it has made us worse. “In 2012 we’ll change America again, and this time it will be better.”
Update: Video of full remarks and Q&A included
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