February 28th, 2009
11:16 AM ET
6 years ago

Pawlenty urges GOP outreach to 'Sam’s Club voters'

Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the GOP must stress its commitment to job creation.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the GOP must stress its commitment to job creation.

(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday that Republicans must do a better job of reaching out to working class voters, a group he said agrees with the GOP on most issues, from gun rights to heath care to education.

The problem, Pawlenty said, is that lower and middle income voters - a group he terms “Sam’s Club voters” - don’t believe Republicans “are for the working person.”

He said the party must stress its commitment to job creation and market itself “with a feel and concern and tone and an understanding of the importance and the challenges of the working class of this country.”

“And it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our principles to do it,” Pawlenty said.

Like most of the Republicans who have addressed the annual gathering of conservatives this week, Pawlenty chided the White House for passing a “sprawling spending buffet” disguised as an economic recovery package.

The governor bemoaned the president’s budget plan, unveiled earlier this week, which predicted a $1.75 trillion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

“A day or two later the Democrats convened a fiscal responsibility summit,” he said. “What’s next? Are they going to have Rod Blagojevich convene an ethic summit?”

Pawlenty and his wife Mary also spoke Friday night to a closed-door reception for “Rebuild the Party,” a web-based grassroots initiative to modernize the party


Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Sue

    OK, I'm a middle income voter who has NOTHING in common with the GOP. I believe that guns should be regulated, I hate abortion but believe that is a personal choice (all these 'socialist crazy' Republicans who want to legislate this behavior need to look in the mirror!) I believe taxes are a necessary evil, and I believe that war is 100% wrong, all the time. I also have nothing in common with Governor Palin...my children were brought up to believe in God, and they were never promiscuous, never got themselves pregnant, and both got their college degrees before their marriages. We have a mortgage we can more than afford, savings for more than the recommended six months, and once the stock market recovers..and it will...our retirement will be fine. I cannot imagine any spin the GOP can come up with that would persuade me to switch alliances to a party of hate.

    February 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  2. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Why would anyone want to vote for a bunch of freaks that MOCK them?

    The crusty white people, even you Steele, are nothing buy a bunch of lying creeps that will say anything to get elected.

    Hip Hop, "he da man", Sam's Club aka Walmart crowd...

    what a bunch of idiots.

    February 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  3. David, Vancouver, WA

    How insulting. I'm a "Sam's Club" voter. The Republicans just don't get it – they are too far removed from reality.

    February 28, 2009 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  4. Sandy C.

    Typical same olde Republican talk... Their still rich and could care less about Main Street America! They prove it with words like this Govenor's speech. As for 'Sam's Club voters' – I shop Sam's Club, and frankly, I doubt there is a Republican I would ever vote for now days. Republicans – stop talking about what is wrong with President Obama's budget... start talking about positive actions that can be done on both sides of the aisle to get America back on track! Don't see that happening either – Republicans have no ideas, so just blame it all on the Democrats.

    February 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    Gov Pawlenty – I did not think I could ever agree with you about anything – but I do – You are right the Republicans will never do anything for the working guy/gal that does not first fill the pocket of a fat cat republican....................

    February 28, 2009 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Marydoe

    Let's say I'm a "Sam's Club" voter - I am a member. Let's say I'm an independent. Let's stop the rhetoric and give me some facts: if Republicans are so good at creating jobs IN THE U.S., please show me when, where, and how in the last 8 years, Republican policies have created good-paying jobs? Ronald Reagan talked about turning us into a nation of service industries. Well, that's where we are.

    February 28, 2009 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. Sam's Club Voter

    Republicans represent the rich and the well connected. Look at their opposition to Obama's stimulus plan to help regular people. I will never vote for a Republican ever again. Never.

    February 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  8. JC from GA

    This is crap! The republicans keep screaming that President Obama is wrong. Well, for the last 8 years the republicans have been WRONG! No WMD, the war in Iraq, the surge, the budget, you name it and the were wrong about it. President Obama is doing what is needed to be done, but the republicans just don't to admit that. This is the problem with their party and their thinking. They really need to to stop being a party of "whiners" and start trying to help this great country get back to the greatness that it used to have.

    February 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  9. REG in AZ

    I believe the Republican Party has lost its way and has simply become the party of puppets who irresponsibly patronize and placate a few who pull the strings and then boldly they just give the majority an abundance of subterfuge to hide and rationalize the total neglect and to manipulate public opinion. There seems no doubt that anyone who is capable of being unbiased and objective would readily recognize the belligerent and totally arrogant gross dishonesty of the last eight years and which actually continues in the Party's current unified and stubborn obstructionist efforts, all without ever offering any solutions or conscience. Some may wish to ignore the self-indulgent behavior, which is rationalized as being 'conservatism' and concentrates strictly on money, as they feel it actually benefits them and to them, without even dwelling on all of the drastic and significant problems created by this behavior, I emphatically ask the following questions. Who of us really believes the current Republican Party would ever turn against their powerful and influential patrons and: Establish the regulations and enforcements needed to check the abuse on Wall Street?; Establish the oversight and control necessary to check the abusive run-away greed, dishonesty and self-indulgence in the financial sector?; Interject to check the run away costs in the medical field and thereby cut Medicare, Insurance and individual expenses?; Establish the real controls and enforcements needed with polluting industries to check Global Warming and environmental degradation?; Do anything to discourage the exportation of American jobs and taxes?; Do the necessary spending to turn around our drastically decaying infrastructure?; Raise taxes on the very wealthy and close corporate tax loop holes to equitably increase revenue?; Have any real concern for America's lagging educational performance?; Do away with the drastic unproductive government spending established by the Bush administration that favored Special Interests and a select few?; Be transparent, honest and open to sincere bipartisanship in complete contrast to the last eight years?; and more, all to turn things around, benefit the people and avoid the catastrophe we would be heading for when continuing with more of the same?. If, like me, you see with clarity that the current Republican Party is not apt to do any of that and you really seek the return of a conscience driven and responsible Republican Party, you then recognize that, as voters, we need to completely reject their current behavior and encourage needed drastic change.

    February 28, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  10. Keith

    I am a Sam's Club member and I sure don't want the GOP speaking for me. They are just a bunch of older white conservative closet bigots who "pretend" to want to be inclusive. They are against anything for the common man. There will never be a more divisive group of people and most of them love Rush Limebaugh....do you think ol' Rush has been in a Sam's Club lately....Ha...that's a good one.

    Don't reach out to me until you have a CLEAR message...I am middle America....not liberal not conservative....just in the middle like most of those who voted in the last election.

    Look what those Financial Conservatives did to us over the last 8 yrs.

    February 28, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. STOP THE EVIL GOP

    You PAWNS of the Elites and Multinationals can keep dreamin!!! Even the most DIM and Inbred Southern Rube now knows after Bush that the GOP is for the Rich and Connected and that is all. All else is a lie

    February 28, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Rick

    If the republican party picks Jundal, Palin, McCain or any of the other STATUS QUO ELITEIST, then you can figure that the democrates will control government longer. First thing, Jindal and Palin cannot get the young vote and they are nothing better than a republican figure head and McCain is so out of touch that who knows what he thinks. Unless you pick someone outside the main stream, I know a lot who will vote Democratic or not vote.

    February 28, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  13. Lisa T

    Do what you must, but the majority of us spoke on November 4th and we are not about to be lulled into believing that your party is for the average American! Contrary to the misinformation your group is trying to put out there, the Democrats are not against gun ownership – I have a few myself! We are NOT about giving welfare to those who lay around waiting for a check. We are however for companies paying livable wages. We, as citizens of the United States of America, should never have to choose between feeding our children and providing them adequate medical care while working a full time job! The wages must be adequate to do both! I would never wish upon my worst enemy a society which would allow a hard-working family to have to watch their children suffer hunger or disease because they can't afford both! Let's hope that those who ignore that reality or who promote those policies due to their ideologies do not find themselves unexpectedly unemployed or working for a company paying the bare minimum with little or no medical benefits and having to make those tough choices! By all means, work hard and accumulate your wealth, just do it honestly and justly – pay livable wages, provide adequate benefits at reasonable costs to your employees and stop shipping jobs overseas! In turn, your employees will remain loyal in their quest to help your company succeed. They will purchase your product or service, thereby allowing your company to grow and profit!

    February 28, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  14. Larry, Apex, North Carolina

    I go to Sam's Club often, and I don't plan on voting RePIGlican anytime in the foreseeable future...

    February 28, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Lori, Houston Texas

    With the state of the economy today, thanks to the Republicans, isn't everyone a Sam's Club (or Costco, or Bj's) voter now?

    February 28, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. matt m from st. paul

    When the I-35 bridge between Minneapolis and St. Paul fell, Pawlenty launched himself into the national spotlight. After seeing his press conference on every news channel that day, I turned to my roommate and said, "He is going to be a new heavy-hitting Republican now." A year and half later, he has become one of the most prominent and for whatever reason actually respected Republicans – probably by the process of elimination. Respect by default, if you will. Short-listed for VP (probably a better choice), host or and speaker at the RNC, weekly appearances on cable news programs, etc. Let's not forget the only reason we know his name. Tim, you owe that bridge your career.

    February 28, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. kyle

    what a joke. pawlenty should run for president so he can be laughed out of town

    February 28, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Sandra

    I have never been a republican but I used to at least respect them. I can no longer say that given their behavior. Politicans are supposed to behave differently after they are elected. They are supposed to become "statesmen." They are supposed to concentrate on the business of the nation but all these guys can do is rant and rave because they did not get re-elected. This is not what the American people want. If if was what we wanted we would have voted them back into office last November. The American people voted overwelmingly for Barack Obama because they wanted him there. The Republicans are too busy trying to figure out how to get their power back in four years to concentrate on the health of the nation and its people. Shame on all of you.

    February 28, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. dave

    the republicans have always been for the rich and against poor prople, and they always will be. look what the put up for president and especially vp. republicans were the conservative holy rollers also-palin had to get married, daughter. keep up the good work republicans....

    February 28, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. Kasado

    Oh yes, and the Republicans have such a fine record of frugality over the last 8 years. (extreme sarcasm!!!)

    February 28, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. maurice from ontario

    I really get a kick out of seeing so much bi-partisan spirit permeating this conference (NOT!). Intent on trowing the baby out with the bath water, these Republicans jockeying for better positions in 2012 jump at every opportunity to identify (potential) weak areas in what is being proposed by the new Obama – Biden Administration (which, once again, has only been in office for 38 days!!). Rather than waiting to see how things pan out even one month from now, they recoil from taking the medicine that will help cure them! Rather than working alongside with a "wait-and-see" attitude, they prefer sitting at the feet of the sacred cows of conservatism - good ol' Newt and the bum's Rush - and spew inflammatory remarks that are aimed to divide the American people. Some things are really hard to change!

    February 28, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. CJ

    Perhaps those of us who are Sam's Club voters have the ability to recognize that the GOP is not for working America. How do you think we got in this mess in the first place???

    February 28, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. linda from south dakota

    why nor,, instead of a party,, these "rich" polititions,, divide up the monies and give it to a charity in trouble,,,,??? makes sense to me,,,

    February 28, 2009 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  24. dave

    I think they would be moreconvincing with actions not words. The only jobs the republicans created were for foriegn workers, H1B , guest workers etc. The democrats on the other hand are wanting make everybody in Mexico eligable for social security benefits. There is no politician in the US that has the American worker interests in mind. Everybody wants to make the special interest groups happy .

    February 28, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. Lush Limprick the Head of the Republican Nazi Committee!

    The problem, Pawlenty said, is that lower and middle income voters — a group he terms “Sam’s Club voters” — don’t believe Republicans “are for the working person.”

    No doubt, the "trickle down" economics that has concentrated the wealth of this country with the 2% at the top of the food chain was just one reason the little guy does not believe the repubs represent them. The "let them eat cake" attitude about the unemployment benefits extension may be reason 2. Neither time nor space allows me list them all.

    But gimmicks seems to the repub answer to the nation's problems, so trot out Joe the Joke as the cardboard cut-out for the "Sam's Club voter" again, that will do the trick.

    February 28, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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