Pawlenty: No 'Sacred Cows' in Dealing with Deficit

Tuesday, 24 May 2011 06:11 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Former Minnesota Governor and Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty tells Newsmax that the first thing he would do in the White House would be to repeal Obamacare, calling it a “dramatic overreach by the federal government.”

He also asserts that he would acknowledge no sacred cows in dealing with the debt that threatens to “sink the country,” a problem he says President Barack Obama refuses to deal with.

Pawlenty served as Minnesota’s governor from 2003 to 2011, after five terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives. He officially announced his candidacy for the GOP presidential nomination in Iowa on Monday.

He vowed on Monday that he would tell the truth about serious problems facing the country in a way that President Obama has not. In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV on Tuesday, he was asked about the serious problems he maintains Obama either isn’t being forthcoming with or is whitewashing.

“We have a country that is in big trouble,” Pawlenty responds.

“We are drowning in debt and deficit. He’s shown no willingness to tackle it. In fact, he’s made it dramatically worse since he’s become president. The debt in this country, the deficit, has essentially tripled. He’s heading us in the wrong direction.

“If you’re going to fix this problem, you have to say there are no sacred cows. That’s why I went to Iowa yesterday and did what people say you can’t do, which is to say we’re going to phase out ethanol subsidies.

That’s why I came to Florida today to do what people say you can’t do, which is to talk about, for younger people, raising gradually the retirement age for Social Security and means testing part of Social Security for wealthy people.

“President Obama refuses to do those things. He refuses to lead. That’s not going to fix the country’s problems.”

Pawlenty adds that the country can’t survive with the current level of spending in Washington, with spending obligations far surpassing revenues.

“This will sink the country from within if we don’t tackle it,” he declares.

Asked what is the first thing he would do if he became president, Pawlenty tells Newsmax: “Repeal Obamacare. We have a crisis in this country. It’s draining and putting incredible pressure on the budgets of families, businesses and government. It’s healthcare costs, which have gone up faster than almost anything else. It is the fastest growing thing and it needs to be fixed. But he didn’t fix it — all he did was expand access to a broken system.

“The answer is not to make it a government system and drag it into Washington, D.C. and have it be a bureaucracy. The answer is to give people help directly. Let them choose what’s best for them and their families in a market and not have it be a government takeover. That’s how we’ve approached it in Minnesota.”

Pawlenty says he believes Obamacare is unconstitutional and hopes the courts will find it so.

“It’s a dramatic overreach by the federal government, requiring people to buy a good or service for the first time in this nation’s history,” he says. “It’s a dramatic breach of their authority.”

Pawlenty vows that he would lift the moratoriums on drilling offshore and in Alaska.

He also says he admires Rep. Paul Ryan for his “courage” in proposing a deficit reduction plan that would drastically overhaul Medicare, but adds that he has his own plan he will be putting forward that will differ in several ways from Ryan’s.

“For instance, he didn’t address Social Security. I will.

“For the future generation, let’s give them a whole bunch of options and let them choose what’s best for them and their family.”

Some Democrats have stated that Pawlenty supported caps on greenhouse gas emissions at one point. But he now says he would not sign a cap and trade bill, which would be “too ham-fisted and would burn the economy.”

As for why Pawlenty believes he is the most qualified Republican candidate for president, he says: “Every Republican candidate is going to say, I’m for cutting taxes, I’m for reducing spending, for market-based healthcare reform, for school reform and choice and accountability. I’m for public employee pension reform, for being tough on terrorism. I’m for standing with Israel.

“But you shouldn’t just listen to the words, you should look and see who’s actually done that and who actually has the fortitude to stand in there under difficult circumstances and get it done in a tough environment — in my case Minnesota — and I’ve done it.”


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