Exclusive interview with Tim Pawlenty

posted at 12:20 pm on May 23, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

A few minutes ago, I interviewed Gov. Tim Pawlenty about his official entry into the race, which will occur this afternoon in Iowa, and his campaign theme of “Time for Truth.” As I noted earlier today, Pawlenty offered a sneak peek of this new approach by specifically focusing on farm subsidies, a particularly difficult issue in Iowa. I asked Pawlenty whether Iowans are ready for that much truth, and he believes they are. “We can’t fix this [the fiscal crisis] if we take the position that we’re only going to cut someone else’s stuff,” Pawlenty says. “We’re going to look the people of Iowa in the eye and talk about the need to gradually reduce over time ethanol subsidies. We’re going to go down to Florida and talk about the need to fix Social Security to seniors,” he explained, not by changing it for current recipients but by making changes to the retirement age “for the next generation.” Pawlenty says that afterwards, he’ll go to Wall Street and tell them that the era of bailouts are over:

Pawlenty praised Paul Ryan’s approach to the budget, saying that he has shown more leadership than Barack Obama, whose original plan was to trim $40 billion a year in spending while deficits ran past the trillion-dollar mark. He has his own budget proposal to make soon, which will differ from Ryan’s in some key ways. Pawlenty noted that Ryan avoided Social Security reform for good reason, considering the state of play in Washington, but that his plan will include that in reforms, but his Medicare reform will look “a little different” than Ryan’s.

I asked him about his perceived toughness, since this will be a long, hard slog. Don’t confuse politeness with weakness, Pawlenty told me, listing his battles with the Democratic legislature and the transit workers’ union. He shut down the government here over a budget fight, for instance, and issued a record number of vetoes. Not surprisingly, Pawlenty says that Republicans should look for a candidate with a strong, successful executive track record for the best possible contrast with Obama. “If people want a Comedian in Chief or Entertainer in Chief, they should vote for somebody else,” Pawlenty said. “But if you want a serious, seasoned, strong, thoughtful person who gets results in a tough environment and tough circumstances, then I’m your candidate.”

Update: How will the austerity message be received in Iowa? We’ll see, but the speech has a pretty good line to set it up:

Politicians are often afraid that if they’re too honest, they might lose an election. I’m afraid that in 2012, if we’re not honest enough, we may lose our country.

We’ll see if that gives him an applause line when farm subsidies come up, but he’s serious about bringing them into the debate.


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Well so much for proactive government.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 1:38 PM

Clearly, the “proactive” thing to do would be to call up the National Guard and have them lead an armed coup against an elected official.

There are legitimate criticisms of Pawlenty; few of his backers- unlike the cultish supporters of a certain unlikely potential candidate- would suggest his record is completely flawless. No governor- especially of a blueish state- goes two full terms without some hiccups.

To criticize Pawlenty for matters completely outside of his control (the 2008 recount) or for misleading, out of context quotes in a left wing newspaper is petty and smells of a desperate desire to sling mud at anyone who isn’t the Holy One.

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

If Palin doesn’t run, for me it will come down to Pawlenty or Cain. Weird….the two couldn’t be more opposite.

They both have such major flaws….that I just don’t know which way to go.
Thank goodness the election is a long way away yet…plenty of time for more toads to pop out, plenty of time for more bright spots to pop out.

Daaang Sarah, look what it’s come down to….you’re gonna have to run.

tencole on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Don’t shoot the messenger on this, City Pages is just relaying the Pioneer Press reportage placement. (The Pioneer Press being one of the two major newspapers in Minnesota (Twin Cities area).
And, besides, the PP’s choice of placement is good for a chuckle.

whatcat on May 23, 2011 at 1:34 PM

Ah- couldn’t click the link; doesn’t make it past the work filter (and probably for good reason).

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:54 PM

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Well no one every said you were smart.

Tpaw was pushing the proactive government angle and when he had a chance to be proactive he punted. It seems tpaw’s idea of proactive depends on what he things is politically popular. For a gov to sit and allow a election to be stolen like that and hide behind the AG shows a comlete lack of character due to his stated words of him wanting the government to be proactive.

Oh and btw thanks for finally coming out and showing who your candidat eis. amazing that you attacked Palin nonstop with left wing talking points for the last 2 years all the while saying you had no candidate. Now the truth comes out.

hypocrite

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Tpaw on Rush now

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:07 PM

Rush talking about the 2006 quote. Asking Tpaw about the era of small goverment is over…

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Tpaw is “clarifying” know. referenced the David brooks article. but doesn’t say anything about the proactive quote.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:10 PM

So per Tpaw’s own words. the quote “the era of small government is over” was a referenced to a David Brooks article titled the same. but he did not walk away from this quote “that government needs to be more agressive and proactive”

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:13 PM

Tpaw Did NOT walk away from this quote when given the chance by rush:

I’m a market person, but there are certain circumstances where you’ve got to have government put up the guardrails or bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful … Government has to be more proactive, more aggressive.”

he did deny this quote:

“The era of small government is over,”

Rush asked him about both. tpaw answerd the small government part but did not answer about his statement about government needing to be “proactive,more aggressive”

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Rush asked him about both. tpaw answerd the small government part but did not answer about his statement about government needing to be “proactive,more aggressive”

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Interesting. I wonder if AP will blog the interview later and post the audio.

Kataklysmic on May 23, 2011 at 2:27 PM

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Pawlenty signed legislation mandating that all gas sold in Minnesota contain 20 percent ethanol by 2013, up from 10 percent…. In 2005, Pawlenty also urged other states, at a meeting of the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition (which had 31 member states at the time), to mandate that all gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol by 2010.

Link

Would you call this a good example of proactive government?

P. Monk on May 23, 2011 at 2:50 PM

OT: Thought I would share. It’s looks as if “Irish Eye’s” were not smiling on Barry…well at least not on his limo. Could not help but laugh out loud!

http://www.rte.ie/news/av/2011/0523/media-2963651.html#

milwife88 on May 23, 2011 at 12:27 PM

So much for getting the car out of the ditch Barry.

jnelchef on May 23, 2011 at 2:52 PM

sharrukin on May 23, 2011 at 1:19 PM

No, moron, the Republicans did exist; they just called themselves the Independent Republicans. Their elected officials caucused with the National Republican Party, their elected delegates went to the National Republican Party Convention. The only difference was the name.

From what you, yourself quoted:

The GOP during the “Independent Republican” era – the years after Watergate, when the MNGOP rechristened itself the “Independent Republican” party, to break with the national GOP

The only error here, is that they in no way, shape or form, broke with the national GOP. All they did was change their name. They simply “rechristened” themselves.

notropis on May 23, 2011 at 3:14 PM

Actually, so far, Pawlenty is the cleanest guy in the race. But arguably, the most boring.

Obama is weak because of his own policies. Why throw Hail Mary passes when you’re ahead & you’ve got a Pro Bowl running back?

On Intrade, which really means nothing this far out… other than an instant poll:

Pawlenty seems to have gotten just about all of Daniel’s support. He is almost even with Romney.

Romney’s numbers don’t change much at all… others are going to slip past him.

petunia on May 23, 2011 at 12:59 PM

Interesting.

itsnotaboutme on May 23, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Well no one every said you were smart.
unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

I every say Hollowpoint is smart.
All valid points, Hollowpoint.

itsnotaboutme on May 23, 2011 at 3:22 PM

Tpaw Did NOT walk away from this quote when given the chance by rush:

I’m a market person, but there are certain circumstances where you’ve got to have government put up the guardrails or bust up entrenched interests before they become too powerful … Government has to be more proactive, more aggressive.”

he did deny this quote:

“The era of small government is over,”

Rush asked him about both. tpaw answerd the small government part but did not answer about his statement about government needing to be “proactive,more aggressive”

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:16 PM

Regarding that first quote that Pawlenty refused to walk back, why should he? Isn’t that pretty much the Sherman Act? What’s the problem with the government breaking up monopolies when they are strangling competition? Markets don’t always want to be free.

Lawdawg86 on May 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM

City Pages? Really?

It’s a free “alternative” far-left paper that’s best known for bar and “escort” service advertisements, and music reviews with the occasional leftist column thrown in.

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 12:48 PM

It’s media and it’s read by someone. Are we suddenly going to rationalize away bad press?

There are legitimate criticisms of Pawlenty; few of his backers- unlike the cultish supporters of a certain unlikely potential candidate- would suggest his record is completely flawless. No governor- especially of a blueish state- goes two full terms without some hiccups.

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:53 PM

No dice. If that “unlikely potential candidate” isn’t fit to get the bullet-pointed nuance and rationalization treatment, then Pawlenty isn’t either. I’m sick of the double standard.

pseudoforce on May 23, 2011 at 3:48 PM

Markets don’t always want to be free.

Lawdawg86 on May 23, 2011 at 3:46 PM

the government’s job is to ensure a free market. Not to be agressive in picking winners and losers. I have no problem with anti-trust but anti-trust law is a reaction not a proaction.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

the government’s job is to ensure a free market. Not to be agressive in picking winners and losers. I have no problem with anti-trust but anti-trust law is a reaction not a proaction.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Fair enough, I agree. I guess its just such a vague statement that I’m not really sure he needs to walk it back. Did he clarify what he meant during the interview? Since he’s carrying around an ‘A’ rating from CATO for his whole eight years in office, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to government intrusions into free markets.

Anyone got a link to Rush’s T-Paw interview?

Lawdawg86 on May 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Since he’s carrying around an ‘A’ rating from CATO for his whole eight years in office, I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt when it comes to government intrusions into free markets.

Lawdawg86 on May 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM

He only got an A rating in 2010. In 2004 it was a B, in 2006 a C, and in 2008 a B. He always neglects to mention the other years.

steebo77 on May 23, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Anyone got a link to Rush’s T-Paw interview?

Lawdawg86 on May 23, 2011 at 4:09 PM

Here.

pseudoforce on May 23, 2011 at 5:05 PM

Tpaw was pushing the proactive government angle and when he had a chance to be proactive he punted. It seems tpaw’s idea of proactive depends on what he things is politically popular. For a gov to sit and allow a election to be stolen like that and hide behind the AG shows a comlete lack of character due to his stated words of him wanting the government to be proactive.

unseen on May 23, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Damn, you really are that stupid, aren’t you?

Again- in MN, the governor has no say over recounts. None. That power is reserved to the AG, an elected official. Pawlenty didn’t “let” the election be stolen any more than Ron Paul “let” Obama bomb Libya.

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 5:20 PM

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 5:20 PM

From cbsnews.com, 6/2/2009:

…That case is now before the state’s Supreme Court. Depending on the outcome, Pawlenty could be forced to choose sides between Coleman, the Republican incumbent, and Franken, Coleman’s Democratic rival.

Franken has been declared the winner of the tight race, but Pawlenty has so far refused to sign an election certificate, saying Coleman has the right to exercise all of his legal options.

If Franken wins before the state Supreme Court, Pawlenty could conceivably still decline to sign an election certificate, since Coleman could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Doing so would anger voters in the state, who polling suggests have become increasingly frustrated with the dragged-out Senate battle.

If Pawlenty does sign the election certificate before he absolutely has to, however, he would anger national Republicans, who desperately want to keep Franken out of the Senate. (Franken’s vote would effectively give Democrats the sixty seats they need for a filibuster-proof majority.) Pawlenty knows that his ability to raise money and buzz for a presidential run could be seriously hampered if national Republicans do not support him.

Nope. Pawlenty couldn’t do anything at all. Could he, soooper genius?

kingsjester on May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM

He did. The Star Tribune (one of the most liberal papers in the country) misrepresented the quote. “The era of small government is over” was the subtitle to a David Brooks column that he was citing, not an endorsement of big government. The Trib later issued a clarification / correction.

There’s a reason nobody can find the full quote in context- because it was BS from the beginning.

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Hopefully the biggest whiners and complainers about LSM lying wont start accepting everything coming out of the LSM’s mouth just because it is directed at the candidate they hate.

Ooops….too late.

csdeven on May 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Hopefully the biggest whiners and complainers about LSM lying wont start accepting everything coming out of the LSM’s mouth just because it is directed at the candidate they hate.

Ooops….too late.

csdeven on May 23, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Is CATO acceptable?

http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/a-big-government-running-mate-for-mccain/

Pawlenty, who reportedly coined the term “Sam’s Club conservative” to describe his political philosophy, has been an economic populist and big-spender generally. Among other things, he:

* Supported government subsidized health care for all children as the first step toward universal health insurance, and opposed President Bush’s veto of a Democratic bill that would have expanded the State Children’s Health Insurance program (SCHIP) to families earning as much as $83,000 per year;
* Supports Massachusetts-style health care reform, including a “health care exchange” and an individual mandate;
* Has called for banning all prescription drug advertizing, and seeks government imposed price controls for drugs offered through Medicare;
* Proposed a $4000 per child preschool program for low-income children;
* Pushed a statewide smoking ban smoking ban in workplaces, restaurants and bars;
* Increased the state’s minimum wage;
* Imposed some of the most aggressive and expensive renewable energy mandates in the country;
* Was an ardent supporter of the farm bill;
* Received only a “C” ranking on Cato’s 2006 Governor’s Report Card, finishing below such Democrats as Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and tied with Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

sharrukin on May 23, 2011 at 7:39 PM

It’s an ego boost to be among the smartest people in the room, even if it’s a room largely populated by those who once rode the short bus.

Hollowpoint on May 23, 2011 at 1:03 PM

It’s sad that you think that this is true; sadder still that you think you’re well served by being a self-professed giant amongst those you think are pygmies.

I take the opposite view, and would rather be surrounded by giants; it makes me want to be taller.

massrighty on May 23, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Who?

Knott Buyinit on May 23, 2011 at 11:30 PM

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