Presidential candidate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he has the executive experience and “fortitude” to lead the United States through its current fiscal and social problems and is not just another politician “flapping” his “jaw.” Pawlenty also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity Tuesday though there is a wide field of good potential GOP hopefuls, the “road leads to my campaign.”
“I think when people look at these candidates, look who has had the executive experience, who’s delivered on reducing spending, and taxes, and government reform in a blue state, and who can market conservative principle across the country, and win the election — I think that road leads to my campaign — so, we feel really good about that,” Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty noted a lot of potential presidential candidates have similar stands on the issues, but the question is whether they can back up the rhetoric.
“I think a lot of Republican candidates will sound similar — they’re all going to say they’re for cutting taxes, reducing spending, reforming schools — with accountability and choice — market-based healthcare, being tough on terrorism, public-employee reform, pension and benefit reform, and the like,” he said. “The question, Sean, isn’t so much wide differences in those issues — there will be some but probably not wild differences. The real question is going to be is: Do you have the fortitude to actually do it or you just flapping your jaw like another politician? Have you done it?
“And have you done it in a way that attracts people in and allows us to accomplish it and govern? In Minnesota, I did it in probably one of the most liberal states in the country as a movement conservative and the Cato Institute gave me an ‘A’ grade — one of only four governors in the country to get that grade,” Pawlenty continued. “The other three aren’t running.”
Pawlenty acknowledged he has been taken to task for not being the “loudest” presidential contender.
“Look, the country is facing big and serious trouble — so, if somebody wants an entertainer-in- chief — or somebody who’s going to be the biggest or most bombastic candidate — that is not me,” he said. “But I don’t think that person is going to get put in the Oval Office, and given the responsibility to be commander-in-chief, and leader of the Free World, and president of the United States.”
Hannity noted given the opportunity, Pawlenty said he would not vote to raise the debt ceiling and the Obama administration’s doomsday predictions were just scare tactics.
“President [Barack] Obama has set up a false choice between America defaulting on its outside obligations — which we simply can’t do or shouldn’t do — and raising the debt ceiling. But that’s not really our choice,” he said. “Many months ago I wrote an op-ed — I think the first one published by a national voice — saying there is enough cash flow and money coming in for at least a good while of extended period of time to pay all of our outside debts. And then in the meantime, roll up our sleeves and do what the real work of entitlement and spending reform that’s real, meaningful, and permanent.
“And they told us: ‘Well, the sky was going to fall here in mid-May.’ Well, guess what? It is mid- May,” Pawlenty added. “And now they are saying, well, it is August — and beyond August, they may have even more time, but in that time, before they raise the debt ceiling — and they shouldn’t — [Washington should] fix the problem.
“And the underlining problem is they are spending too much.”
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