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. Paul Ernest Show

    These Republicans are becoming increasingly pathetic. Alexander Lamar talks of revolution, Texas governor talks about seccesion, a congress woman talks about " great white hope". When is this going to end.? The same party that claims to love America more than everyone else could be this extreme is simply amazing. These divisive, extreme views are words I will expect from KKK members not from well educated public servants. Suddenly, it seems we are two nations under one God. These comments are troubling and I hope Americans reject them totally.

    September 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  2. AL

    These are elected LEADERS???? The republican party reminds me of a spoiled child that got away with murder and cries fowl once he's been caught. Have these ADULTS have no shame!!!???

    September 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. MInnesota Resident

    Pawlenty is the govenor that allowed a major interstate highway bridge to collapse killing and injuring almost 150 people rather than pay the cost of needed repairs. He also reduced the budget for the state department responsible to holding sex offenders allowing them to be released with little or no supervision so that one could kidnap and murder a young woman from ND. Pawlenty is the new holder of the Minnesota title of Governor Goofy.

    September 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Brown

    YEA I guess we wouldn't want him to do what Bush did when he visited the class room. Where were all these people then??? What's good for the geese is clearly NOT GOOD for the gander......Give me a break

    September 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Bubba

    No matter what you do, you will not keep the students from hearing what the President of the United States has to say. We couldn't stop the Imperial Chimp from doing it, and you won't stop the Elected President from speaking. The kids will find out that what you so ardently disagree with is "stand on your own feet," "take responsibility," and "make high grades," and they will wonder if you are dishonest or just easily fooled.

    September 4, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Judith

    What, pray tell, is so VERY wrong about encouraging children to stay in school and study?

    It truly boggles the mind. With that kind of attitude no wonder there are so may ignorant people out there ... and this Governer happens to be one of them, it seems.

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  7. V in Chicago

    You have got to be kidding me! Are the Republicans who are so against the President talking to school children, regarding the importance of an education, afraid their uneducated core will actually learn something and become educated? OMG, then they may be able to see the Republican Party for the monsters that they are becoming and see the hate they spew for what it really is! Playing on fear and ingorance has been their game for quite a while now.

    I believe the more educated people we have in this country, the better our country will be. How can any one be opposed to telling children that education is important and they should do their best when in school? I am so repulsed by all the blatant B#$%S*&^ coming from the right. Is there nothing you Repubs' will not attack? Since you can't seem to get under Obama's skin, you've obviously decided to go after his audiences – and children of all things. . . There is no debate here! Education is important and children should do their best. Was that so hard to hear? Is this not what you would (or should) be telling your own children?

    Guys, give it up! If it wasn't for the hateful tone of your messages, you would be almost comical.

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  8. smokey

    Where are all these HATTERS coming from..From the right of course..I have never in my life seen such whinning about everything little move Pres Obama makes.. Where was all outspoken objection when prev President's such as Clinton, Reagan , and both Bush's did the exact same thing ? By the way did they happen to catch the speech the last Busch gave to scool kids..Now that speech may have been alittle over the top..But these people, instead of telling the truth regarding what their real objections are, they are like ine past with regards to racism hiding behind a smoke screen..Don't worry, those of us who know the real deal, know what this is really allo about..Don;t we ??? You got it !!!!!

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  9. Emma Gold

    One would think the Republicans would want to spend their understanding how they got so out of touch with reality that they lost the White House and Congress. I guess it' takes less thought to get hysterical about such a non-issue as a president giving a work-hard-stay-in-school pep talk to kids. These people just continue to make themselves public laughing stocks!

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  10. Former Republican White Male

    What in the world are we coming to now? The Republicans are only out for political gain and I think it is so sad.

    They are race baiting poor, uneducated white people to try to hurt the president. I would like to ask poor white people this question: WHAT HAVE THE REPUBLICANS EVER DONE FOR YOU?

    I am from Kentucky but I live in Pennsylvania now. My family voted Republican before I was born but not now. Fortunately, my dad and his brothers sat down and looked at who had really done anything for them and they started voting for the Democrats.

    People, stop acting crazy. Give the president a chance. I am a white male, 38 years old, and I am proud to say I voted for Obama. I wish him all the luck in the world because he is going to need it since the Republicans are trying to destroy him.

    Pity our poor country. We seem to be on the verge of a civil war. This is going to come back and bite the regular Republicans in the butt. Just watch and see.

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. Nick Ernacker

    Question for the bizzaro-worlders out there: how much hate and fear can the GOP pump into their constiuents before violence occurs? If and when this violence happens, who will ultimately be to blame? Will you all be able to live with yourselves if some dittohead shoots up a school to prevent 'socialist indoctrination'?

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  12. debbie

    These people are hateful. Even if I do not agree with everything Obama says or does, I do NOT think he's going to "inject his political agenda" into a speech to kids. And if people have a problem with him calling children to serve their country, to be kind to their fellow students, to stay in school and work hard – well that's their problem. Morons. Republicans = the party of no.

    September 4, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. independent jim

    Apparently the GOP and its followers have forgotten what real leadership looks like.

    They didn't seem to object when repub presidents did the very same thing. Honestly people need to get a grip on reality.

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. Barbara Independent in NY

    Hey Pawlenty, if this is the beginning of your campaign for president, you might as well give it up now. Republicans are running scared at the thought of all minorities realizing their true potential. The amount of bigotry and racism that still exists in this country is unbelievable.

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. Jesse from Berlin

    By the way, Gov. Pawlenty... what was Bush doing on 11 September 2001?

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. Carol

    I was at a tea party where a woman who identified herself as a conservative republican screeched about how colleges were brainwashing our kids and that the books should be burned.

    We have repeatedly watched the republicans cut spending for education and now their upset the President wants to address our students and talk about personal responbility, staying in school, getting an education and service to our country.

    I'm beginning to think they're just afraid of people who are educated.

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  17. Steve Cook

    Some people mentioned racist tone of the GOP's comments. NOT TRUE. Obama is racist, look at the supreme court nominee and REALLY LOOK AT THE Green Czar as that Green Czar was given a job by Obama, and that Green Czar says he "hates white people" and thats a quote. Obama wants reparations for slavery as seen in 2006 news story. They show him saying that. How more racist can people?

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  18. a real American

    Boy, could CNN be any more one-sided? Your so-called "reporters" love to make Republicans look bad... where's the story on Van Jones, Obama's green czar? Jones is a self-proclaimed communist and radical who not only ACTIVELY participated in violent Rodney King riots but is also 9/11 truther. But I guess it's no big deal that this man has a direct line to the president, huh?

    You guys are turning into the Huffington Post more and more everyday.

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. David

    Fear seems to be the only thing the GOP party has to offer and fear seems to be only thing that drives them down these roads they take with no good ending. Fear keeps you in your place, remember that the next you hear a GOP squawking. The GOP fears fear itself and there goal is to make you fear it too!

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Arden Muller

    I am proud to have our president speak to our children and encourage them to be successful in school. Those of you that are pulling your child out of school are really playing to the GOP and their sick games to destroy the president. Your being very foolish to listen to any of them

    September 4, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. John Stillman

    Republicans criticize just to criticize. The subject is unimportant. If the President says or does it, it is wrong. Children in school are required to do things they don't want to do all the time. Tthose who don't want to listen and pay attention will do what they always do. What else is new? What a non-story hyped by the press who, it appears, has a great deal of difficulty figuring out what is or is not important.

    September 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  22. Stop the Madness Republicians

    Please stop the Madness Republicians! You are looking desparate, sad, and more than a little crazy. I believe you did not raise this same type of criticism when Reagon or the first President Bush, also addressed students directly.

    Pawlenty, I considered voting for you if you ever ran for President. Sir, you just lost my vote.

    September 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Louis

    "It is time we stand up to President Obama" Pawlenty said to members of the Republican Committee last month. "It is time we stand up for our principles and it is time we stand up for the American people".

    Oh really? We have one of the highest dropout rate of any industrialized nation and the president is using his bully pulpit to address this serious issue and all the Republicans can do is scream and holler. Typical Republican response. Keep in mind, Presidents Reagan and Bush did the same thing that President Obama is trying to do. What is so wrong with this?

    At some point, President Obama is going to have to face facts. The Republicans will NEVER like anything he does and will try to derail him with any and every argument at their disposal. We have experienced 8 years of when they ran things and quite frankly, that was more than enough for me. I not saying that I in total lockstep agreement with everything that President Obama says or does but at least the man is trying to help the AMERICAN people instead of the rich people and the corporations the Republicans seem to cater to.

    It is going to take more than several months for President Obama to unscrew the mess that the Bush Administration left us and let face it, he left a big mess for President Obama to clean up. All the Republicans and their ilk want to do is scream and rant and rave about what President Obama is doing. Where are their ideas? What is their platform for getting this country back on its feet? I don't see or here any ideas from the Republican Party, but I do hear plenty of noise and nonsense from them. Even Milt Romney thinks it is a good idea, so what exactly is Governer Pawlenty"s problem?

    If anything, Governer Pawlenty should be helping President Obama lead the charge on this issue instead on being totally against it. As President Obama has stated, our country's future is at stake if we cannot prepare a more skilled and educated workforce.

    September 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. Juge

    This is very sad! Our President should be respected and a model to follow. President Obama knows that children need to hear from adults what, and how to achieve a worthwhile future. Without the children reaching for success through education this country will continue to fall and fail.

    September 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  25. Bob (Illinois)

    The members of the Republican Party are absolutely nuts! What has happened to these people?

    September 4, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
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