Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Friday that Americans are tired of all the wrangling among Republican presidential candidates and are looking for truthful answers that address the problems they face every day.
“They’re sick of the BS and they just want somebody to give it to them real, and give them solutions and stop the bickering,” Pawlenty said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Pawlenty, who withdrew from the GOP presidential race after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, is now supporting Mitt Romney. He described the former Massachusetts governor as the most qualified candidate to take on President Barack Obama in the fall and the only candidate who is not a Washington “insider.”
“There’s precisely one candidate in this race who hasn’t spent the bulk of his adult life in Washington, D.C., or in parasitic relationships with Washington, D.C. And that’s Mitt Romney,” Pawlenty said. “The fact of the matter is, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and even Congressman [Ron] Paul, spent the bulk of their adult experience in the culture of Washington D.C., or in a parasitic relationship with it. And we don’t need more of that. That’s not working.”
Pawlenty also shot down a theory floated Thursday by radio personality Rush Limbaugh that Romney, who is now trailing Santorum in some polls, may have struck a deal with Paul to beat up on Santorum.
“Probably the last person to quote, unquote, ‘cut a backroom deal’ in American politics would be Ron Paul . . . It’s just idle speculation,” he said.
Some Republicans have talked about the possibility of an independent bid by Pawlenty, who is considered more moderate than any of the other candidates still in the race.
But Pawlenty has ruled out that possibility and he said on Morning Joe he does not believe a third party or independent candidate can mount a sustainable and successful race.
“I think it’s probably unrealistic as a way forward. . . . It’s very hard to catapult over the current [party system] platform,” he said.
Asked by host Joe Scarborough if he has any regrets about withdrawing early from the race, Pawlenty said, “I had a fair chance. I just didn’t get it done.”
He said he prefers to look ahead rather than back. “One of my coaches said to me once, ‘No more woulda, shoulda, coulda. That game’s over, that play’s over. You gotta live for the future.’”
And what does the future look like now? Scarborough asked.
Aside from campaigning for Romney, Pawlenty joked, “I’m gonna open a margarita bar in South Florida.”
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