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Posted at 4:05 PM ET, 02/11/2011

Tim Pawlenty to CPAC: Obama should 'stop apologizing' for U.S.

By Aaron Blake

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty on Friday delivered some of his harshest criticism yet of President Obama's foreign policy, telling the president to "stop apologizing for our country."

Speaking to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, potential presidential candidate Pawlenty said Obama's foreign policy has been too meek. Just hours before, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ceded power in the face of long-standing protests in a country that has long been a U.S. ally.

"Mr. President, with bullies, might makes right," Pawlenty said, drawing a standing ovation from many in attendance. "Strength makes them submit. Get tough on our enemies -- not on our friends.

"And, Mr. President, stop apologizing for our country."

Pawlenty is not the first potential presidential candidate this weekend to speak out against Obama's foreign policy, but he did make some of his most significant foreign policy statements to date.

He said the administration's posture undermines allies like Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Colombia, while appeasing enemies like Iran, Russia and Islamist groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood - which some think may take over in a post-Mubarak Egypt.

"We need to make sure that there is no equivocation, no uncertainty, no daylight between us and our allies around the world," Pawlenty said.

The "stop apologizing" line is particularly interesting, because it comes close to a campaign theme of one of Pawlenty's potential rivals, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney. Romney has a book titled "No Apology," and his stump speech has, at times, offered similar criticisms of Obama.

Pawlenty touched on a number of topics of interest to conservatives in his speech, from God to fiscal conservatism to the repealing the health-care overhaul. Most of the speech was well-received, though the foreign policy section drew some opposition from
supporters who were in the hall to hear Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) speak after Pawlenty.

Pawlenty, who is perfecting his stump speech, also offered a few zingers. A sampling:

--" Barack Obama is not behaving like Ronald Reagan! He's behaving like Jimmy Carter."

--"President Obama has done the impossible. He's proven that someone can deserve a Nobel Prize less than Al Gore."

--"Now, I'm not one who questions the existence of the president's birth certificate. But when you listen to his policies, don't you at least wonder what planet he's from?"

-- "The federal government spends our money the way Keith Olbermann talks: too much, without a point, and it leaves the whole country confused."

By Aaron Blake  | February 11, 2011; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
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