Pawlenty: Defeating Health Reform Will Lift GOP

Would-be presidential contender talks tough
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2009 10:00 AM CDT
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty speaks at a luncheon during the Republican National Committee summer meeting Thursday July 30, 2009, in San Diego, Calif.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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(Newser) – Tim Pawlenty, a top prospect for the GOP’s 2012 nomination, practiced his act yesterday, dispensing pointed jabs at Barack Obama’s health care plans. Obama, an “extreme left liberal,” promised “change we can believe in, but now we’re seeing it’s about changing what we believe in,” he told the GOPAC conference in Chicago. He said that defeating health care would return the Republican Party to prominence, Politico reports.

Pawlenty didn't hold back on the "red meat," notes Andy Barr. “The only thing growing faster than the federal deficit and debt is Chris Matthews’ man crush on Obama,” he said. The Minnesota governor also tried on some potential campaign themes, particularly education, which he called the “the civil rights issue of our time.” Finally, he burnished his social conservative credentials, telling the crowd that “it should be OK for all of us to believe in and acknowledge God.”