Policy-Wonk Pawlenty Steers Clear of Wackos

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 20, 2009 12:44 PM CDT
Minnesota Gov. Timothy Pawlenty speaks at a luncheon during the Republican National Committee summer meeting in San Diego on Thursday, July 30, 2009.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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(Newser) – Voters are “ticked off and scared,” by Barack Obama’s health care plans, says Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, because those plans are “out of step with common sense, out of step with the notion that the government isn’t going to run everything.” Pawlenty, an oft-mentioned possibility for the GOP’s 2012 nomination, is known mostly for his fiscal record, but he's trying to carve out a quiet niche in the loud health care debate, Politico reports.

Pawlenty hopes to strike a balance somewhere between Sarah “Death Panels” Palin and Mitt Romney, who championed Massachusetts’ troubled universal health care system. He says he opposes the public option, increased taxes on small and medium-sized businesses, and deficit spending, but supports ideas like pooling risk across states and opening up the private insurance market. “He is not comfortable just throwing bombs or being negative,” said one Republican. “He likes policy.”