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Pawlenty and Nixon: Two More Govs. Who Hail the Stimulus

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By Ed O'Keefe
While some Republican governors have far-ranging concerns about the stimulus package, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-Minn.) conceded today that few of them are going to be willing to leave federal assistance on the table.

Complaints about the package have focused largely on the three to four percent of the package devoted to unemployment insurance, Pawlenty told The Post in a joint interview with Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) as the National Governor's Association winter meeting in the District wound up.

Still, there are plenty of programs in the overall package directed toward job creation and other issues that make it something worth swallowing, Pawlenty said. "We're not bashful about accepting our share of the money," Pawlenty said, adding later, "If you're paying the tab for the pizza, it's OK to have a slice even if there are some anchovies on it."

Nixon also expressed eagerness to start spending his state's share of the money and urged governors to look beyond their ideological differences. "Is this bill perfect? That's not the question. The question is how do we use this opportunity," he said.

Pawlenty expressed concern that the stimulus package failed to fulfill Obama's "promise of this new bipartisan era where the politics of division and of the past are going to be set aside."

"I think he chose for whatever reason not to put his foot down with the Congressional leaders and allowed them to, in my opinion, turn the stimulus bill at least in part into a meandering spending bill, and that resulted in most Republicans, including me, expressing concern and objection," he said.

Despite their differences, both governors said they will put their allotted funds towards job creation and retention.

"We're at a 25-year high in unemployment," Nixon said. "We want to use the tools that the Congress and the president have provided to get Missourians back to work."

Added Pawlenty: "That's what our citizens need most. That's their stabilizing influence for them, their families, our communities. In any way we can use this money to create and save jobs is the key and important focus."

Pawlenty and Nixon joined the nation's other chief executives earlier today at the White House for what both described as a frank and open exchange with President Obama on economic matters.

"He was extremely and open and transparent and gracious in the way he conducted the meeting," Pawlenty said. "It was helpful. Not everyone in the room obviously agrees, but I think they appreciate his style of saying, 'Look, let's hash this out and if we have some honest disagreements so be it, but let's hear each other out.'"

"I think the governors -- Democrats and Republicans -- understand we go back with a united mission to try to get people back to work. Some may go about that in different ways. We all have different ways we're going to do that," Nixon said.

Posted at 4:43 PM ET on Feb 23, 2009  | Category:  Economy
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This is one of those 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' issues...remember how Palin got savaged by the media for accepting Federal assistance as being hypocritical to her populist conservatism?

Maine is going into the deficit hole big time; and having been run by Democrats for 30 years maintains a lobbying presence in D.C., and well polished 'begging cup's to thrust into the faces of Congress.

We are a State that gets more back than we give in.

Unfortunately, this will change because OBAMA is cutting back on the ambitious NAVY ship building program and that means cutbacks at BATH IRON WORKS(owned by that evil GENERAL DYNAMICS, heheh)and possibly even bankruptcy since they are only building one DG 1000, which at over a billion dollars is exactly the kind of 'big ticket' item, the white house is targeting.

The BRUNSWICK NAVAL AIR STATION is closing and taking 7,000+ jobs and people with it....as of yet replacement enterprises are all federally funded with the exception of OXFORD AVIATION.

So the Federal stimulus package will need to replace the jobs of both...which it won't. We're screwed!

Posted by: poppadata | February 24, 2009 10:11 AM

I hope that Jindal and Barbour stick to their principles.

Posted by: JakeD | February 23, 2009 6:40 PM

I think that the Democrats have forced the Republican Governors to choose between economic reality and political ideology. On the stimulus package we will find that conservative hypocrisy which flourished under Bush will give way to the realism that if you want to improve the economy you will have to abandon the failed ideology.

The sooner they do that, the better off we will be. Someone is going to have to fight with Obama for cutting expenditures and that sure is not going to be the Democrats. Hope they realize that cutting deficits will include raising taxes with a little tax reform thrown in.

True fiscal conservatives, which too many Republicans are not, will get the upper hand yet. There are going to be many political battles in Washington. Obama may only win a good portion of them but this country will be better off because of him.

Posted by: Gator-ron | February 23, 2009 6:37 PM

Back on topic, wouldn't it be more accurate to say that Gov. Pawlenty hails 96-97% of the "stimulus" package?

Posted by: JakeD | February 23, 2009 6:07 PM

JRM2:

Gov. Palin is not a "tax cheater" because the STATE OF ALASKA made an honest mistake -- when the WaPo questioned it, she initiated a formal review process of "per diem" payments and, now that said review is complete, corrected W-2 forms will be sent to her (and any other State employee who received such payments) promptly -- I'm sure she will pay any taxes due at that time.

BTW: do you hold Timothy Geithner to the same standard, because I don't recall you ever calling him a "tax cheater"?

Posted by: JakeD | February 23, 2009 6:05 PM

Personally I think Jindal is a compelling figure, even though I think his deep south accent and his propensity to talk too fast will hurt him. He does give the impression that he knows what he is talking about, unlike that doofus - tax-cheater from Alaska.

Posted by: JRM2 | February 23, 2009 5:53 PM

Now they are the Anti-Anchovy party?, what's next, try to get the Italian-American vote by being the Anti-Pasta Party?

Posted by: JRM2 | February 23, 2009 5:50 PM

Gov. Jindal is not talking about refusing ALL of the money either.

Posted by: JakeD | February 23, 2009 5:06 PM

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