Pawlenty Urges GOP To Call Obama’s Bluff On The Debt Ceiling

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In an interview with the Wall Street Journal and on Fox News Sunday, Former Minnesota Governor and 2012 Republican Presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty has made his statement about where he will stand in regards to getting the countries fiscal house in order by calling on GOP Congressional leaders to stand up to President Obama and the Democrats assertion that failure to raise the debt ceiling would be a ‘disaster’. White House economists have said it be an inevitable economic disaster to use the debt ceiling as’ a negotiating tool.’ Long-term interest rates remain at historically low levels, indicating no urgent need for dramatic austerity measures, they say, adding that such cuts in the short run would ‘jeopardize the economic recovery.’

The former Minnesota Governor stated that Congress and the White House should pass legislation that would put interest and debt payments ahead of other federal spending and allow the federal government to pay its creditors as tax revenue flows in. With the surge of tax payments that come in between April and June, that would at least buy time to try to cut spending dramatically, he said. “This debate about how we’re going to restructure spending is inevitable. My view is, let’s have it now,” Mr. Pawlenty said, “Let’s call their bluff.”

Joining Pawlenty in his belief that the debt ceiling should not be raised is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has drawn the national spotlight since taking office for taking dramatic steps to cut New Jersey’s budget gap.

Pawlenty also questioned President Obama’s stance in 2006 as a Illinois Senator against raising the debt ceiling during the George W. Bush administration. A move the President now says that would be ‘reckless’ for Republican’s to make. On the Senate floor in 2006, then Senator Obama stated, “The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.” A statement to which Pawlenty said, “His positions then and now are wildly inconsistent and reflect hypocrisy.”

If his challenge is taken on by those in his own party, some whom which are in support of raising the debt ceiling, will become a heated topic as it is reached early this spring. It is apparent that Tim Pawlenty however is making his economic stance well known to those who see it as the number one issue leading up to the 2012 primaries. Taking the lead on the debt issue could be the leadership role and topic Pawlenty needs to get his name out and mentioned amongst the Huckabee’s, Palin’s and Romney’s.

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Pawlenty’s Catch 22 In The Hawkeye State

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Giving your opinion on the decision’s of judges when you’re the Governor should be the norm in a political landscape in which legislating from the bench has become a hot button topic for many. However, when that critique is aimed at a state that you re not the Governor of, it may become political ammunition. When that state happens to be the state that kicks off the run for Presidential aspirations, it may be toxic. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty may have found himself in a catch 22 over comment made regarding the possible ousting of 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices who recently ruled that Iowa’s law banning gay marriage was against the state constitution.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Pawlenty said he would need to study the justices’ record before deciding whether to join the effort, but that voters have the right to remove judges if they disagree with their rulings.

“The notion that judges stand for election is embedded in the Iowa Constitution. It’s embedded in the Minnesota Constitution,” Pawlenty said. “It’s the right and privilege of the citizens of this state and my state to weigh in on whether they like or don’t like the job that a judge is doing and to agree or disagree with him.” Asked about a campaign organized by Sioux City business consultant Bob Vander Plaats – who failed in his bid for the GOP gubernatorial nomination – to remove the justices, Pawlenty stressed that he supports limiting marriage to one man and one woman. “I think the law should support that, and to the extent you have judges inserting their personal views to change that, I don’t like it,” Pawlenty said.

While this may help Pawlenty in his bid for the Republican nomination, it is a position that could come back to haunt him if he should be his parties nominee in the general election. In a primary he will be vying for the conservative vote that propels the Republican party. The general election tends to be about not who can get the vote of their own party, but who can get the vote of the undecided voters. As party voters usually support their parties candidate regardless, the independent voter, one not bound to party politics or candidates, becomes key to winning in the general election.

Hence the Catch 22 that Governor Pawlenty may have unwittingly thrust himself into. Should a candidate who is not well known outside of his own state and party throw himself into a position of taking a position on a hot button topic so early into the process? Let alone in the state which will have the all important first voice of the election? Not to mention a state in which his standing as the Governor of a neighboring state leaves many Iowan’s scratching their head as to why the Governor of Minnesota would make public his opinion on the affairs of their state.

The question will be asked and to that point the Governor’s statement will become a topic of debate should he decide to run in 2012. But for a candidate who received a mere 1% in recent polls to weigh in on a state issue of a border state that happens to hold the early key to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, maybe the question didn’t need answered in the manner in which it was. As many Iowan’s simply hope Minnesota keeps it’s opinions to itself, many independent voters may have already made up their mind before an official candidacy has had a chance to kick off.

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Tim Pawlenty: Testing the waters in Iowa, navigating them in Minnesota.

Bookmark and Share    Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been long mentioned as a front runner for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination.  Earlier this week he may have unofficially tipped his hat with a trip to the important state of Iowa.  Taking the trip to help campaign for GOP candidates in the border state to the south, the Governor was obviously also testing the waters for a run in 2012.  A decision he contends he will not make until 2011.

Governor Pawlenty’s credentials are solidly based on his results as the Governor of Minnesota where he wiped out an inherited $4.3 billion dollar deficit without raising taxes.  Something voters will most likely deem a positive trait based off of the projected budget deficits that the country now faces and that will be inherited by the next administration.  As they like to say: “It’s the economy stupid.”  Something that Governor Pawlenty has proven he understands and has delivered positive results to the citizens of Minnesota.  During Governor Pawlenty’s administration the GDP of Minnesota has grown steadily while boasting a state unemployment level below the national average.  He also got Minnesota off of the list of top 10 states for taxes in the country by slowing government spending programs.  In a struggling national housing market Governor Pawlenty expanded foreclosure counseling workshops in Minnesota and created the Minnesota Foreclosure Prevention Compact.  He increased mediation funding to assist homeowners when counseling is unsuccessful as well as established a new Commerce Department assistance hotline designed to assist counselors.  Compared to the effectiveness of the current administration in dealing with the ongoing economic problems facing everyday Americans, Governor Pawlenty has enacted programs that have helped Minnesotans and gotten the states budget on track.  All without raising taxes.

At a time where America lags behind other developed countries in several educational categories Governor Pawlenty put into place the Minnesota Academic Standards – putting in place rigorous requirements for math, reading, science, social studies and arts.  The Governor has also stated he believes in performance based pay for school staff as well as that the state should assess progress and hold it’s districts accountable for the education levels of it’s students.  Governor Pawlenty also signed a law requiring the Pledge of Allegiance in Minnesota public schools.  A very popular move amongst the conservative voters of his state.

So, as he may be unofficially testing the waters in Iowa for a run at the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination, Governor Tim Pawlenty has been successfully navigating the political waters in Minnesota with results that clearly outpace the results seen on a national level.

Maybe someone in DC should be taking notes.  I’m sure they have already begun doing so in Iowa.

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