“I’ll put my record against the record of any governor in the country”

“Anybody can get up and give a speech,” Pawlenty said, a seeming dig against some of his more headline-grabbing rivals. “The real question is going to be: Do you have the fortitude to take the pounding to get these things done? Without being immodest, because Minnesotans don’t like to be immodest, I did.”…

Pawlenty says he already did. He touts his ability to hold the line on spending and taxes. Pawlenty inherited a $4.56 billion deficit, which he closed without increasing taxes. Minnesota state spending increased an average of 21 percent every two-year budget cycle from 1960 to 2002. He held spending growth to an average of less than two percent annually during his time on office. In 2009, he reduced the size of state government…

“Pawlenty’s probably about as good a governor as we could have gotten, given the circumstances,” said debate coordinator G. Larry Colson Jr., a 43-year-old software company executive who voted to affirm the resolution. “A lot of the more hardcore conservatives thought he should have played a little more offense than defense.”