Pawlenty stumps in New Hampshire
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Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty reintroduced himself to New Hampshire Republicans last night in Concord. In what could be considered the opening night of the 2012 First in the Nation Primary, the potential Republican Presidential candidate was in town to raise money for GOP State Senators.
In his address to a packed ballroom at the Grappone Conference Center, the two-term Governor and former hockey player portrayed himself a “grinder”, willing to work hard everyday. And he introduced his “red hot smoking wife” Mary Pawlenty, sharing a story of how his wife first encouraged him to run for Governor in 2002, but only because she didn’t expect him to win.Pawlenty recalled candidate Barack Obama’s speech on the eve of the 2008 New Hampshire primary, where the Illinois Senator promised “on a bipartisan basis, he was going to fix the health care system, with cost containment being the number one objective.” Instead, Pawlenty says President Obama has pushed “a partisan, liberal monstrosity, which is the Democrat’s health care proposal, and is jamming it down the country’s throat.”
In an exclusive Watchdog interview, Pawlenty opposed the creeping federal role in education funding, balancing state budgets, and in health care.
In 2007, Pawlenty joined five other Midwestern Governors, and the premier of Manitoba, in signing an agreement to create a regional greenhouse gas emissions market. At the time, Pawlenty argued that trading emissions credits was an efficient way to reduce pollution.
“Some will respond by reducing pollution directly. Others will respond by buying credits or offsets in the marketplace, with the ultimate same net effect,” Pawlenty said. But he has since withdrawn his support for cap and trade programs at the federal or regional level.
In his address to the party faithful, Pawlenty touched only briefly on foreign policy, bemoaning that even French President Nicholas Sarkozy is lecturing America on the dangers of appeasement. But in our exclusive Watchdog interview, Pawlenty was willing to give President Obama credit for his tactical decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, if not his strategic decision to announce a draw-down date in advance.
Pawlenty said Republicans were “fired for cause” in 2006 and 2008, but that Democratic overreaching gives GOP candidates the chance to earn back voters’ trust in 2010. He says voters agree with the party’s values of smaller government, lower taxes, strong foreign policy, and Second Amendment rights. Pawlenty argues that if the Grand Old Party wants the opportunity to govern again, it can’t act like “Democrat-light” but instead needs to convince Republicans, Democrats, and independents that the party will live up to Republican principles.
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