by T.W. Budig
ECM Capitol reporter
Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty today (Monday, May 23) presented himself to Iowans as the guy who’s going to tell the truth and let the chips fall.
“Someone has to lead. I will,” said Pawlenty, speaking to a friendly crowd of Iowans in downtown Des Moines.
“I’m going to tell you the truth,” he said.
Introduced by wife Mary Pawlenty, Tim Pawlenty spoke and took questions at the event, billed by Pawlenty as his first official campaign stop.
Pawlenty gave a biting assessment of Democratic President Barack Obama, calling the recent federal health care bill an “unmitigated disaster” and charging the president lacks an economic plan.
“He just has a campaign plan,” said Pawlenty.
The former Republican governor also accused the president of playing a “cynical” brand of politics, pretending problems do not exist while attacking those trying to solve them.
Pawlenty went after Obama on foreign policy.
Obama’s recent comments that the U.S. supported a Palestinian state based on borders existing prior to the 1967 Middle East War opened a “crevice” between the United States and Israel, he explained.
The countries should stand shoulder-to-shoulder, said Pawlenty.
Pawlenty portrayed America needing to be weaned from federal government largess.
And he depicted himself as willing to do it.
“No more too big to fail,” said Pawlenty of the upbraiding he intended to inflict on Wall Street.
Pawlenty — some might say you can’t say this in an agricultural state, he added — said federal subsides, including those for ethanol, needed to be phased out.
But it can’t all be done immediately, he added.
Pawlenty spoke of curbing the influence of the National Labor Relations Board, a sentiment that won him one of the louder bursts of applause of the day.
The former governor took a series of questions from audience members, one dealing with the appointment of judges.
“I appointed strict constructionists,” Pawlenty said of the judicial appointments he made in Minnesota.
Other questions dealt immigration, education, other issues.
“I’m excited about his race. We are going to win it,” Pawlenty told the audience.
Asked by a reporter how it felt to a declared presidential candidate after his long preparations, Pawlenty had a concise answer.
“It feels great,” he said.
Democrats argued Pawlenty’s truthfulness reflected a selective use of facts.
“There is nothing in Gov. Pawlenty’s record that would warrant a promotion,” said Minnesota DFL State Party Chairman Ken Martin.
“Tim Pawlenty is a man who will say anything to get noticed. He’s a political chameleon who sticks his finger in the wind to find out which way the political wind is blowing,” Martin said.