September 4th, 2009
03:11 PM ET
5 years ago

Pawlently takes aim at Obama's address to students

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized President Obama's scheduled address to public school children.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized President Obama's scheduled address to public school children.

(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is adding his voice to the growing conservative chorus criticizing President Obama's scheduled address to public school children next week.

Pawlenty, who since announcing he was not seeking a third term as governor earlier this summer has stepped up his criticism of the president, said Friday the classroom is no place to show a video address from Obama.

"At a minimum it's disruptive, number two, it's uninvited and number three, if people would like to hear his message they can, on a voluntary basis, go to YouTube or some other source and get it. I don't think he needs to force it upon the nation's school children," he told reporters at the Minnesota State fair.

The governor also objected to the Department of Education's initial encouragement of school children to write the president with their thoughts on what they can do to help him. Amid criticism, the proposal was dropped.

"There are going to be questions about - well, what are they are going to do with those names and is that for the purpose of a mailing list?" Pawlenty said.

The Democratic National Committee called the comments 'outrageous.'

Pawlenty's remarks are the latest in a series of critical comments the governor has directed at Obama over the last few months, as he begins to take a more visible role in his party in advance of a possible White House bid.

"It is time we stand up to President Obama," Pawlenty said to members of the Republican National Committee last month, one of several speaking engagements at GOP and conservative-backed events. "It is time we stand up for our principles, and it is time we stand up for the American people."

Last month, Pawlenty was also keynote speaker at a major dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Florida. In July, he addressed top party members at a Republican National Committee conference in San Diego. Next month, the governor heads back to California, as a featured speaker at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, thought to be another potential White House hopeful, issues a more measured statement to Obama's planned address.

"If the president wants to encourage students to stay in school and study, that's appropriate," he said. "However, he should be careful not to cross the line to discuss political issues or policy matters."


Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Vinny

    Wow! Criticism of the president addressing school children?! if i am not mistaken the former administration lied about torture (which is illegal), then admitted it. by all accounts this administration is trying its hardest not to release graphic and sadistic photos of these acts during the previous administration. Debate about federal criminal investigations and healthcare rage on, and now Republicans are upset about the President speaking to school children?! Is that even newsworthy?

    September 4, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. D.Taylor

    Where is Mr. Obama's address to educators to tell them to try harder, do better, keep students engaged? They are the problem, not the kids. There are two sides to this coin. Mr. Obama picked the "you kids suck and need to do better" message, rather than "Educators suck and need to do better." As a parent, I'm fine with Mr. Obama spanking the teachers in front of the kids; not vice-versa. I think the administration underestimated the hostility most parents have towards the school system.

    September 4, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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