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Pawlenty's Blue-State Appeal



Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty addresses the Republican National Committee today. AP Photo by Jim Mone

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will introduce himself to members of the Republican National Committee gathered in San Diego today as a solutions-focused politician who has run and won in blue America, according to excerpts of his speech provided to the Fix.

"I'm a Republican governor in a traditionally Democratic state," Pawlenty will say. "Yet, we were able to cut the size of government, avoid new taxes, increase our energy independence and reform our health care system even with a divided government."

That results-focused messaging bears a strong resemblance to how then Illinois Sen. Barack Obama presented himself as a candidate during the 2008 campaign -- as someone who was able to navigate partisan waters to find solutions for voters.

At the same time, Pawlenty's speech also contains the sort of red meat pronouncements that are sure to win him kudos from the assembled crowd.

"The President says we're out of money," Pawlenty will say. "Well, with all due respect, Mr. President, if we're out of money, stop spending it!"

On health care, Pawlenty sounded a similar note -- bashing the Democrats' spending approach. "The Democrats say they're going to cut health care costs by spending more," Pawlenty is expected to say. "That's like saying you're going to balance a checkbook by writing more checks. This is a scheme that would make Bernie Madoff blush."

Heyooo!

Minnesota Democrats sought to cast Pawlenty as an heir to President George W. Bush; "at every opportunity [Pawlenty] has proven himself to be a fire-brand Republican more concerned with his popularity in Washington than with solving the real problems facing Minnesotans," said state party chairman Brian Melendez.

Pawlenty allies cast his speech to the RNC as a sort of coming-out party on the national stage for the Minnesota governor who, since announcing he would not seek a third term in 2010, has been looking more and more like a 2012 presidential candidate.

With Utah Gov. Jon Hunstman Jr. (R) out of the running in 2012, there is clearly an opening for a pragmatist candidate in the field, and Tpaw may well be moving to fill that void.

One factor that works in Pawlenty's favor as he seeks to position himself against people like former Gov. Mitt Romney (Mass.), former Gov. Mike Huckabee (Ark.) and former Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska) is that he is well liked in social and fiscal conservative circles -- a fact that might buy him some good will and leeway to present himself in a more pragmatist light.

Of course, Pawlenty is far less well known than any of the trio mentioned above and so must make sure that he introduces himself to Republican activists and voters before his potential 2012 opponents do so.

Today's speech is a step in that direction.

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 30, 2009; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012 , Republican Party  
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Comments

What is also overlooked is that he never actually got 50%+1 of the vote. So although he was elected twice, it was hardly a resounding endorsement.

However, he will comfortably fit the Huntsman pragmatist niche, where there is undoubtedly an opening.

Posted by: JayPen | August 2, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

You didn't make any point

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Right on Chris Fox......you just proved my point......

Posted by: Keeptrying | July 31, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I think Obama is doing a nasty job. Most people seem to think so too, vote here!! tinyurl.com/vobama

Posted by: Maxine776 | July 31, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Looking good for Pawlenty!!! When the liberals start attacking the minute they hear about an outstanding candidate and the vitriol begins, you know you've got a strong candidate.

==

It's exactly this sort of angry and demented reasoning that assures the GOP a long hard winter

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Looking good for Pawlenty!!! When the liberals start attacking the minute they hear about an outstanding candidate and the vitriol begins, you know you've got a strong candidate. Comment after comment is nothing but an attempt to denigrate Pawlenty because they feel threatened by his potential candidacy. Comments re Pawlenty being responsible for a bridge collapse that was not built during his tenure....how stupid. This is mindful of what the Democrats did to Palin after her first stunning appearance... still haven't let up. When the liberals feel threatened they take the low road ....denigrate Bush, Republicans, Conservatives...... whatever......

Incidentally I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Minnesota.....and you should all be so lucky... in spite of the DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor Party) who, incidentally, control the government now and have for years....so I guess you might say the state of affairs in Minnesota are due to the Democrats.

Posted by: Keeptrying | July 31, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty is going to be a great candidate in 2012 for President. T-Paw is has done Minn. well. I see people on this blog attack him, but the fact of the matter is that he has won 2 terms in Minn. as governor and kept his approval ratings around 52% the whole time. Pawlenty balanced budgets in Minn. and cut wasteful government spending. Pawlenty will really be loved by the base & moderates. A good running mate like Tom Ridge would be a great fit as a runningmate.

==

Yes a governor who can reduce an American state to the level of rural India is clearly headed for one of the top national slots.

"Cut wasteful government spending." Hate to be the bearer dude but Reagan is dead.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty is going to be a great candidate in 2012 for President. T-Paw is has done Minn. well. I see people on this blog attack him, but the fact of the matter is that he has won 2 terms in Minn. as governor and kept his approval ratings around 52% the whole time. Pawlenty balanced budgets in Minn. and cut wasteful government spending. Pawlenty will really be loved by the base & moderates. A good running mate like Tom Ridge would be a great fit as a runningmate.

Posted by: reason5 | July 31, 2009 10:59 AM | Report abuse

As a Minnesota Democrat, we should be so lucky to have Pawlenty nominated in 2012. During his terms as Governor, the Republicans in the Legislature have lost about 40 seats, including control of the State House, we picked up two U.S. Senate seats and 1 U.S. House seat. His ability to unelect fellow Republicans, combined with his record of asking "what would George Bush do (wwgbd)" before taking policy positions, has damaged the Republican brand in Minnesota almost as much as Bush. Pawlenty is preparing to leave office in 15 months and leaves behind a state with more uninsured, classrooms with more kids, a transportation infrastructure in worse shape (remember the I35W bridge collapse?) and a series of record deficits. Pawlenty versus Obama? Bring it on!

Posted by: trl618 | July 31, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Chris:

Would you and the rest of the beltway media quit it with this ridiculous man-crush you have on Pawlenty? He won two statewide elections in Minnesota, the second by less than 20k votes against a very flawed DFL candidate.

He has blown up the budget in MN, and couldn't get re-elected there in 2010 even if he wanted to. He's a clown, and once he runs, when people get to know the Tim Pawlenty that Minnesotans and people in bordering states know, they'll say he's "Unfit for Command."

Posted by: leuchtman | July 31, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

@mibrooks: it's a lost cause. Americans have been indoctrinated for over 30 years now with the "economic" mantra, a majority of them would vehemently vote against their own self-interest and would call you a lunatic for believing in anything but the absolute determinism of money as incentive.

I think I told you over the phone already about the dotcom collapse in 2001, thousands of software engineers interviewing for a few jobs paying half what they'd been getting, bright people, mind you, waiting to be interviewed by genericized condescending Indians decades their junior, sitting hollow-eyed with hands hanging between their knees and intoning with conviction:

"gotta compete inna global marketplace"

"uh-huh ... supply an' deman'"

Another ten years and they could probably get people to poke themselves in the eye, if not the nuts.

Funniest part of all .. the way they use conceit to get these idiots to vote GOP .. "you know what's good fer ya better'n any damn guv'mint BUREAUCRAT, don'cha?"

Pretty clear that, well, no, they don't. Just look at your fellow Americans at the mall. Almost comatose, wandering aimlessly looking for ways to part with their money, gravely obese, yeah, self-interest. Where can I buy some?

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 1:21 AM | Report abuse

Wow, nothing but bad news in here for Democrats, nothing but puff puff puff about Republicans. Resurgence based on spurious readings of polls that show Democrats way ahead, GOP saviors whom nobody can listen to for two minutes without falling asleep, gibbering excitement over do-nothing oppose-everything Republican crybabies and bedwetters.

I sure miss Froomkin.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 1:00 AM | Report abuse

Geesh, an other Republican in the news, reads the article & no mis-behaving yet. So far so good. But why write about anyone from a 3rd rate political party ? No one is interested. Turns page to read about Palin wrestling a Moose ... looks at other page, Limbaugh busted for drugs again. Nothing new in those 2 articles. Guess I'll read Mickey Mouse cartoons. Oh Boy !!!

Posted by: wasaUFO | July 31, 2009 12:55 AM | Report abuse

Pawlenty?!?

GOP savior Tim Pawlenty!!

Come on, Chris, I mean, really.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | July 31, 2009 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Folks: Please take a look at Pawlenty's record. I just moved from Minnesota to D.C. because of all the layoffs in Minnesota (85,000 people out of work) and because the state is in so much financial trouble they can't pay for the basics. It is one of the most dysfunctional states in the country at the moment - and we are patting Pawlenty on the back for this? Please. Give me a break. The only "surplus" came from Obama's infrastructure funds in early 2009 which brought jobs to a suffering state.

Posted by: mattiew | July 30, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Chris,

I've always had a liking for T-Paw, but let's face it: he's a few cycles ahead of his time. The stench of the Bush Administration isn't going to die down by 2012. Additionally, no one so seemingly middle-of-the-road is likely to be able to get through the base primary in 2012.

Still, it's people like T-Paw, Ryan, Crist, etc., who are the actual future of the Republican party--whatever the 'old bulls' might think.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | July 30, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

Two things I've noticed in this thread: 1.) I don't think Obama will dump Biden, and I don't think Hillary will challenge him. No Democrat will challenge Obama. 2.) I'm from CT. Rell is popular, but only because the guy who came before her was actually a crook. She could probably be gov. of CT for as long as she wants though, for some reason people don't really care much about her either way.

Posted by: jklein120 | July 30, 2009 9:07 PM | Report abuse

Is there an agenda around here (not that there's anything wrong with it)--

From a February 2009 Fix: "Pawlenty's Broadening Palette"

"No matter what he decides, Pawlenty's actions over the past few months have shown a savvy in regards his own political future that should warm the hearts of his allies who would like to see him run for president in 2012."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/eye-on-2012/pawlentys-broadening-palette.html

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 30, 2009 8:29 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty winning the Presidency is as likely McCain winning MN last year.

Posted by: sjxylib | July 30, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

MORE GOP cheerleading. Cmon Chris -- one trick pony or what?

Posted by: drindl | July 30, 2009 5:34 PM
__________
Let's check out the topics...

Pawlenty's Blue State Appeal

GOP resurgence (a Fix/politico.com talking point completely blown up by Daily Kos in a length data-based analysis)

Palin 2012

Obama's "slipup" and its political costs (he didn't slipup and people who were upset at him didn't vote for him)

Chip Salsman, good guy

Many other posts pushing the same themes in the last year

Is there a tiny pattern here? But look, Fix is absolutely entitled to his opinion and push his agenda.

But let's be real: no serious analyst is suggesting Pawlenty is a presidential player in 2012. He's even behind Piyush Jindal in mane recognition for goodness sakes... But cyberspace has to be filled I guess...

Posted by: broadwayjoe | July 30, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse

He hasn't kissed the b*tt of Rush and Hannity yet. Until he gets the endorsement of the King of the Republican Party and the attack Fox, he doesn't have a chance.

The Republicans will spend a generation in the Political Wilderness for following the blind anti-government ideology, neo-con philosophy and racist propaganda of Reagan and the Bushes. It will take that long to fix the mess they made of America.

Posted by: thebobbob | July 30, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty is short on substance. He and Palin would make the perfect ticket. He could call on Canada for comparison and she could keep us informed on just what the Russians are ploting. I can hardly wait.

Posted by: yamamah | July 30, 2009 6:30 PM | Report abuse

get_it_right - if I were a Republican operative I would love that ticket. Only a clueless "progressive" would see it as winning. Obama is in serious trouble, right now, over his corporate ties, accelerating outsourcing, guest workers, and amnesty for illegals. Clinton's husband *proposed* the original H1-B, expanded the L01 visa from a training visa to a work visa, and torn down trade tariffs and the basic laws that protected our jobs. A Republican populist, even someone simply moderate on job protection, would tear them apart. I, for one, hope to dump Obama in favor of someone not in the pocket of big business.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | July 30, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

As a Minnesotan let me make it clear Pawlenty is NOT popular here among Democrats. He never won a majority. Remember we have earnest 3rd parties and disorganized democrats so we sometimes end up with mistakes like Pawlenty and Michelle Bachmann. Don't translate those mistakes into popularity. We're glad to see him go but nobody else should be stuck witht he righteous fool!

Posted by: babloom | July 30, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will introduce himself to members of the Republican National Committee gathered in San Diego today as a solutions-focused politician who has run and won in blue America, according to excerpts of his speech provided to the Fix."

That would make him suspect as a probable RHINO, by the way. If he makes a mistake and says he knows how to work with the voters in Northern States, it would definitely make him a RHINO.

So he has to go tell the Republicans that he looks like a RHINO, but is really one of them.

We once had such animals in Ohio. Woolly Rhino's. Troglodyte Rhinos, and they have been extinct since early Americans ate them.

The Republicans Who Matter will have this woolly rhino for lunch.

Posted by: ceflynline | July 30, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

The media portrays polling as news. This is misleading and reprehensible. Pawlenty is correct in his overall point, but the GOP does not have a natural constituency. The only way for them to gain political power is by tricking people into voting for them. Lately, it seems they have given up on that and allowed their mad dogs to bark without restraint.

Posted by: buddecj | July 30, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Will Obama dump Joe Biden in 2012? He might do it to co-opt Hillary. If he too becomes vulnerable due to sinking poll numbers, Hillary might challenge Obama for the Dem nomination. However, Obama can preempt her campaign by offering her the VP slot. She might take it in order to "make history" as the first female VP.

Posted by: get_it_right | July 30, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

"Both side have healthcare bills that promises portability and being covered with pre-existing diseases while lowing cost for everyone."

Yes indeed. Yet the only way to lower costs for everyone is to (1) stop over treating people who pay their bills and (2) under treating people who do not.

No one wants to hear that, but as they say in 12 steps, denial is not just a river...

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

MORE GOP cheerleading. Cmon Chris -- one trick pony or what?

Posted by: drindl | July 30, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

As a republican, TPAW is acceptable to me but not my 1st or 2nd choice. I perfer Romney or Barbour. Agree with you Mark, R's just as guilty as D's when it comes to a free lunch. Both side have healthcare bills that promises portability and being covered with pre-existing diseases while lowing cost for everyone. Shame on anyone who buys such nonsense.

Posted by: vbhoomes | July 30, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

"Is TPaw really more popular with fiscons than Romney?"

His 'no new taxes' pledge in MN was made to a local variant of the club for growth. His performance in that arena plays quite well with the new fiscons, who aren't about responsible spending so much as just cutting revenue, expenses be damned. Like any politician, he promises to cut waste, but fails to deliver. Net result: revenues are down, spending is up. Solution: kick the can down the road & let the next governor solve the problem.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Well, since I like to know all the names, I guess I will pay attention, but oh! gee! another wannabe conservative has to make his bones.

Now if another Nelson Reckefellor starts to chat up what little is left of the centrist half of the Republican Party, I may sit up and take notice, but since any Rhino who tries to rally the moderates is fair game in open season, it will be short and brutal.

Still, Pawlenty can join the churning leadership of this collapsing party, hire the usual comedians to write the usual baddabing paeans to the gathering right, and try to out Sarah Sarah if he wants. It just adds to the mob who will stand around and act wannabe Presidential in two years while thhe Sarah fans jockey their girl into the sacrificial tecturn.

Because when anything at all in this administration begins to work, and I expect most of it to do some good, they will be telling people, "You were wrong and this recovery isn't happening and WE could have done it better by making the Rich Richer..."

And by Florida T-Paw will be an also ran.

Still, keep running mug shots of potential Republican Perps, because we need to know who will be walking the Appalachian Trail next week. (Ok, Pawlenty will be testing the Boundary Waters, but hey, we haven't gotten to that euphemism yet.)

Posted by: ceflynline | July 30, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Ho-Hum... another GOP President wannabe. I might be interested if they had some new ideas, but it's the same old tripe, and it's starting to smell. Nothing will change with the GOP until after their losses in 2012.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | July 30, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Correction: not "voted against" but "spoke out against" the stimulus bill

Posted by: JRM2 | July 30, 2009 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Pawlenty voted against the stimulus bill partially designed to rebuild America's infrastructure, this coming from a Governor of a state that had a major bridge collapse killing at least 4 people and injuring at least 60 children.

Posted by: JRM2 | July 30, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty claims that he can win in blue America, but he's unpopular in Minnesota. Romney bragged about his cross-party appeal because he was elected in Massachusetts, but he was hated here by the end of his term. Same for Giuliani. Are there any Republican executives in blue states who are actually popular?

Maybe Jodi Rell of Connecticut should run for President. She's been the Republican governor there since 2004, and still has a 65% approval rating. Sounds like she's doing better than the much-praised Tpaw.

Posted by: Blarg | July 30, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"Able to cut the size of Government, avoid new taxes..."

How's that bridge collapse working out for 'ya?

Posted by: JRM2 | July 30, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

In a recent poll (Minneapolis StarTrib, I think), Obama was leading Pawlenty by a significant amount in a "if an election were held today" inquiry. That's is in Pawlenty's home state. He isn't running because it is unlikely he would win a third term. Coupled with never having received a majority, that would be crippling to his career. IMHO, he is the least good governor I have lived through -- a spot previously reserved by Jesse Ventura.

Posted by: prairiepopulist | July 30, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Is TPaw really more popular with fiscons than Romney? I thought his business resume made him their darling. I think Paw's strength is that he isn't "damaged goods" like Romney and Palin. I can't say anything bad about Huckabee. I wouldn't vote for him, but can anyone really bring themselves to say something mean about Mike Huckabee?

Posted by: jklein120 | July 30, 2009 4:28 PM | Report abuse

The stuff, is China.

BB said we are going to have to sober up soon, but how can we when she keeps talking to our boss and saving our job and believing the lies we tell her about how we are going to stop living like this anymore? It is China's fault, not ours.

Posted by: shrink2 | July 30, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Mark_in_austin writes
"Welcome to borrow-and-spend America. Ds and Rs together, hands out, seeking something for nothing."

Yup. Until we're prepared to take tough medicine, they will be serving sugary placebos. Boy, I feel like a million bucks! What is this stuff?

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Bsimon, do I recall this correctly?

Your take on Pawlenty has been consistent and you have reported on him as Gov. for 2 years at "The Fix". When Pawlenty said he was going to veto the new taxes, you briefly thought he would have the guts to really try for limited government to see how it would work. Then Pawlenty signed the spending bills, as you told us, making him another borrow-and-spend faker.

But he may become a winner on this irresponsible message. This quote from the NYT-CBS Poll is telling:

July 29, 2009

Cut the Deficit, But Don't Raise Taxes or Spend Less

"Most Americans continue to want the federal government to focus on reducing the budget deficit rather than spending money to stimulate the national economy... Yet at the same time, most oppose some proposed solution for decreasing it."

"Fifty-six percent of respondents said that they were not willing to pay more in taxes in order to reduce the deficit, and nearly as many said they were not willing for the government to provide fewer services in areas such as health care, education and defense spending."

Welcome to borrow-and-spend America. Ds and Rs together, hands out, seeking something for nothing.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | July 30, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

He's not particularly popular in his own state and yet he is supposed to be electoral magic elsewhere?

I suppose he and his handlers want to remake that old phrase "A genius is anyone 50 miles from home" to read "a political golden boy is anyone 50 miles from home."

Posted by: margaretmeyers | July 30, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

I would vote for Gov. Pawlenty.

Posted by: JakeD | July 30, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

TPaw=TYawn

Posted by: soonerthought | July 30, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

"I'm a Republican governor in a traditionally Democratic state," Pawlenty will say.*

"The President says we're out of money," Pawlenty will say. "Well, with all due respect, Mr. President, if we're out of money, stop spending it!"**

Pawlenty is far less well known than any of the trio mentioned above and so must make sure that he introduces himself to Republican activists***


* But there hasn't been a DFL Gov of MN since Jan 7, 1991.

** "Do as I say, not as I do"; Gov Pawlenty chose to sign spending bills while vetoing revenue bills - exacerbating the budget shortfall in MN.

** Gov Pawlenty has learned that the base loves baseless attacks. His only option for making headway in the 2012 race is to become a louder critic of the Obama admin.

Posted by: bsimon1 | July 30, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

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