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. Peter

    "force things on others"? Hmmm...sounds a lot like what many social conservative sin your Republican party want to do, Gov. Pawlenty-of-Self-Serving-Nonsense

    September 4, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  2. Nancy

    This confirms that Republicans still don't have a grasp on what American's are thinking. They need to get out of the South.

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

    This is beyond ridiculous. I can't believe this is being made into a political issue. It is obvious we can no longer be governed by anyone. The American Public has become too stupid to be governed. The fact Pawlenty took the time to join the chorus of morons says a lot about him and is a great reason he shouldn't hold public office anywhere.

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

    I think the president should be allowed to address students, especially a message about staying is school. The GOP is just a bunch of morons. This country has a serious issued with the drop-out rate of students. But what can you expect from a party that only cares about the rich ad well connected in this country.

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  5. Matt

    Mr. Pawlenty,

    This is a massive double standard. It was ok for George Bush to address students and talk with them but now suddenly it is not ok for Obama to do it? Pawlenty, just do us all a big favor and stay in Minnesota. You are about as charismatic as Andrew Johnson...in other words, not charismatic at all.

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. RandyW

    I have been watching poltics for 40 years, today's Republican Party borders on an anti-American party of hate.

    They are all looking for their 'great whtie hope.'

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. dee

    Who?? Pawltry Pawlentry is trying to get his media attention..poor unimportant thing...did he criticize BUSH when he gave his speeches? I doubt it...

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Kim

    Was it disruptive when Reagan or Bush I did it? I venture to say no, it wasn't.

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. TxVet

    This is crazy. I think every president should address our nation's classrooms. Let the classrooms and parents at home discuss the content of the speech with their students/children.

    You have the prepared text in advance and can discuss it before-hand and afterward.

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Laurie

    Governor Pawlenty-since you have bankrupted your own state, I think that your opinion of the President's speech to school children is very small in the scheme of your own problems. How about sticking your nose in your own tomato can and getting to work on the problems that you have created. I would also suggest that you be an example to all schoolchildren in the country and respect our President. If he wants to address the schoolchildren in this country, he should and God Bless him for trying to try to be a positive role model for our nation's young people. Shame on your pettiness. Get to the business of running your State, after you ran it in the hole.

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  11. paul

    in short: this is becoming sad and absolutely ridiculous. Spend your energies on more important issues such as Health Care

    September 4, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Jeff g

    oh for gods sake...
    Obama is not Satan.
    For Chrissakes, Nobody was going on about Bush indoctrinating children as neocons when he was reading good night mon to them on 9-11 !!!
    For freakin sakes get real!

    September 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. Stike 1

    Obama should not give the kids a pep talk on how to improve themselves. Kids should just hold the same biased, narrow minded thinking that is prevalent in the Republicans hand book. One good thing is that Pawlenty is just another in the GOP hate party whose asinine opinions carry no merit or honor.

    September 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. vic nashville , Tn

    Some schools won’t show kids Obama’s speech.

    Kids are our future leaders. We send them to school learn many things we don’t send them to read text books only. We want them learn leadership, experience ,opportunity etc

    It is bad example tell the kids don’t watch president speech

    Some conservatives they don’t understand what is conservatism

    September 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Stephen

    It's better than reading "My Pet Goat" to the kids while the country was under attack!

    September 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  16. Brandi

    Apparently the GOP has lost respect for the Office of the President of the United States. When he takes the time to talk to kids about the importance of school and hard work...it is not a distraction. It places emphasis on how important school is. I cannot believe this is even being debated.

    September 4, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  17. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    Is there not a single Republican left who will not stoop to pandering and rabble rousing to score a few points?

    Is there not a single Republican left who has a good idea about a real issue?

    What are we to do with these jokers who put their party and careers before the good of the country?

    September 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  18. Jenni

    Wow, Palenty! I sure hope no child in school grows up to be like you. Talk about wearing the "Hater's Hat"! Believe it or not, the children may understand the health care issue better than you and anyone agreeing with your comments. My goodness, STOP the MADNESS!!

    September 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. twiddly

    Give it a break, Pawlenty. It's going to be a positive speech with no politics in it. This is a bad thing for our kids? Have you ever spoken at a school? Were the parents notified and given an opportunity to not have their kids attend? This is ridiculous. Just more stupid republican criticism of anything and everything that Obama does.

    September 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. Gerry

    At least he encouraged them to stay in school, if the former prez had stayed in school, we wouldn't had to listened such an ignoramous for 8 years.

    September 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. singe

    This is the clown who didn't know if he would do his job and let Franken be seated as a senator regardless of whether or not he won the election? These Republicans have begun to believe their own press releases and are now convinced that the very voters who gave Obama a landslide are ready to jump ship and join the Rush-Beck-McConnell team. Boy are they in for some surprises in 2010 and 2012. Or maybe they are afraid that by speaking to school kids America will remember Bush's "My Pet Goat" in the headlights look when informed that the world Trade Center had been attacked.

    September 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. EJ

    Talk about lame, uninspired excuses.

    Let's tell the truth, a significant portion of the republican party loses it's mind when a democrat is in office. They become obstructionist...taking every single thing the President does out of context ON PURPOSE for political points is lower than I thought I would ever see conservatives sink in this country.

    Personally, I think it is fear and prejudice.

    September 4, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. dani

    what is wrong with encouraging kids to stay in school?

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Don

    The truly racist nature of the opposition is becoming blaringly obvious.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. phil

    When is the president of the US not allowed to speak? What is wrong the republicans?

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13