February 12th, 2010
03:44 PM ET
5 years ago

Pawlenty lays blame for GOP failures

Gov. Tim Pawlenty distanced himself from the Bush administration in an interview with Esquire Magazine published Friday.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty distanced himself from the Bush administration in an interview with Esquire Magazine published Friday.

Washington (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty appears to be distancing himself from the Bush administration and some national Republicans in an Esquire Magazine interview published Friday.

Pawlenty, a Republican and two-term governor, said in the wide-ranging interview that the Republican party "blew it" and "got fired for a reason."

"The Republicans had their shot not long ago to address the real needs and concerns of everyday Americans, and they blew it.... We got fired for a reason," Pawlenty told Esquire. "We just lost our way. You can't say that your hallmark issues are that we're going to control spending, keep taxes low, and make government accountable, and then go to Washington and do the opposite.... Let's face it, when Republicans had total control over it, they didn't do what they said they were gonna do."

Pawlenty told Esquire the difference between rhetoric and action had consequences. "We got our cans kicked – for two election cycles in a row. The marketplace measurement in politics is something called an election. It's a pretty good barometer – it's transparent, it's numerical, it's objective. It gives you a pretty good measure of what your customers think of you. And in 2006 and 2008, the marketplace was telling the Republicans, 'We prefer the products and services of your competitors.'"

Pawlenty also spoke out about "name-calling" when asked if he thought President Obama is a socialist.

"You know, I don't think name-calling is helpful. I've done my share of that, so I'm not Pollyannaish about how the political process works," he said. "But as a general proposition, I think these are serious times, the country's in significant danger, and I think we need people who are thoughtful. We're gonna have sharp differences, but we need to debate those in a way that's constructive and civil. I think President Obama is governing as a movement liberal. I don't think that rises to the level of being a socialist."

Pawlenty announced last summer that he would not seek a third term as governor, feuling speculation that he will make a bid for the White House.

Pawlenty made trips to primary states New Hampshire and Iowa late last year and has attended several high-profile Republican Party events across the country.


Filed under: 2012 • GOP • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (109 Responses)
  1. aware

    It is all about the Progressive global utopian dream – by force if necessary. No – we will not evolve into perfection or enlightenment.

    The Postmoderns are correct – nothing has worked. It is time to wake up!

    This includes the institutional, dualist church! It is time for transformational change God/Jesus style! :)

    February 12, 2010 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  2. Alvin and the chipmunks

    We like this guy,he reminds us of Dave.

    February 12, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. Orange Curtain, CA

    Bush was a rank and file Republican doing exactly what his cronies in the Republican Congress wanted. Don't try to pull a Jedi mind trick Tim and pretend you and your pals didn't support the Bush agenda.

    February 12, 2010 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. If you want something ruined, put a republican in charge

    It looks like little Timmy is not happy that he got no support in the GOP presidential poll. He is attacking the wingnuts who think Bush kept us safe (if you do not include 9-11, the anthrax letters, the shoe bomber, and that was in his first year.) Now if you take away name calling, what else to republicans have.

    February 12, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Steve Judd

    I agree 100% with the term limits idea. Give Congress one 8-year term and make them move on. No re-elections, no constant campaigning, no "career" politicians, no worrying about maintaining the corporate sponsors. Representation by the people, for the people.

    I wonder if we could get Congress to wear their sponsors on their clothes like NASCAR...I wonder how much our health insurance premiums would go up with all the money that would be spent on decals.

    Regarding Mr. Pawlenty, I will wait until I see the actions back up the words to pass judgment. Until then, good start.

    February 12, 2010 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  6. FM

    Fight, fight hard Pawlenty, may be you will pull out something. The recent poll did not show where you stand, what percentage support you!

    February 12, 2010 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. NYC REPUB

    Gov. Pawlenty is trying to seperate himself from the GOP........hmmmmm. It will not work. Those who criticized this President year one of this economic catastrophe, along w/ 2 wars......Will never garner my support. They have been shrill party hacks.......unconcerned w/ the country, but rather getting the GOP back in power.
    I respect, appreciate and admire this President, who is not always right, but who has the temperament, smarts, and sensibility to lead this country........President Obama leads America through panic and fear w/ the politics of hope..........Pawlenty and his ilk, are trying to win back America, through fear.

    February 12, 2010 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. charlotte

    Oh, puhleeze, "aware." The last thing we need is to inject a bunch of religious crap into the government. That 's a big part of what feueled so many of the bad decisions of Bush and his ilk. Keep religious crap in the churches (which should stay out of government, just as the government should stay out of the churches). Go read Molly Ivins' "Bushwhacked" to find out just how evil that administration was. The sorts of social injustices they worked in the interest of putting more money in the pockets of their buddies is nothing short of criminal.

    February 12, 2010 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  9. Stacey

    Anyone who thinks Palin is going to be POTUS is delusional; and you know who you are.

    February 12, 2010 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  10. cane pazzo

    A republican taking responsibility for the mess they created. Astounding.

    He'd never get my vote. Just another career politician looking for the next spot to land.

    February 12, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  11. Oskee Wow wow

    I don't stand with either political party. Tend to dislike the liars that crawl out of the Republican woodwork but I've gotta hand it to Tim Pawlenty for admitting the errors of his party instead of gleefully ignoring the consequences of their actions. This is a huge step for any Republican to take and I tip my hat to Gov. Pawlenty for having seeing the problem for what it really is instead of some kind of fairy tale that someone behind a golden microphone makes up out of the thin air. We need more politicians like this to tell the Emperor that he has no clothes on. (That's the Republican party line to y'all)

    February 12, 2010 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  12. Minnesotan

    Here in Minnesota, we call Pawlenty "Governor Who?" He's done nothing to fix, help or work for Minnesotans, but instead has put his energy into flatulent partisan (i.e. Republican) politics and has been AWOL far more than he's been on the job. We're all glad he's not going to be in office much longer so that we can get an intelligent person in the office and fix the myriad problems left behind by yet another Republican and their failed policies.

    February 12, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. Jim

    He is right on the mark. After nearly fifty years of backing the Republican Party with my vote and my financial support the party lost me in 2006. The party won't see me coming back until it has once again demonstrated that it will do in office what it says it will do in its campaigns. For now and perhaps the remainder of my life I am an Independent!

    February 12, 2010 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. David

    Pawlenty cuts costs so much, that it resulted in alot of Tragedies in his state. He cut funding for Roads and Bridges, then a Bridge Collapsed and killed hundreds! He cut funding for Health Care, and then former criminals ended up working in Nursing Homes and Raping Old Women!!!

    Pawlenty's ideas of cutting costs aren't worth the damage!!!!

    February 12, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  15. cane pazzo

    Former Republicans are now independents. Independents seem to be voting in large numbers for Republicans. I fail to see what party affiliation has to do with anything considering who independents are likely to vote for.

    Independents are a fickle bunch that's for sure. They're just closet Republicans that's plainly obvious. What's the problem? Ashamed to admit what you really believe in?

    February 12, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. one voice

    Tim is right, why would we ever want the self serving GOP to regain power again to do the same thing. President Obama is doing a great job at steering us out of the ditch that Bush/Cheney left us in. This will take time so please have patience.

    February 12, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  17. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Aspen Professor February 12th, 2010 3:56 pm ET

    Republican Governor Pawlenty told Esquire "the difference between rhetoric and action had consequences."

    Finally!!! A Republican that tells the truth. I am a disgusted registered Republican who finds the current batch of right-wing led idiots in Washington to be nothing more than anti-Obama, anti-change, pro-big business, pro top 1% of taxpayers, off-shore nation building jerks.
    ---------------------

    I feel where you're coming from Professor but I gotta ask, why not go Independent until the Republicans either clean up their act or become a permanent minority party? I'm a democrat and if I didn't approve of what I saw going on with Obama, I'd be an Independent so fast... just curious.

    February 12, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Anthony McMahon

    Finally, a Republican who says it like it is and doesn't use crass absurd language to talk about our president. Well done. If he keeps it up he just may appeal to us Reagan Democrats.

    February 12, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  19. CommonSense09

    I think Pawlenty is tired of the stupid name calling and ready to work together for something to change for the better, regardless of party affliation its time to unite for the cause of a better America! Thanks for being honest....

    February 12, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. KC

    Interesting...a republican that makes sense and speaks the truth (at least this time). What a breath of fresh air....

    February 12, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. ran

    This will have little if any effect on the current Republicans because they believe fear/hate/obstructionism/purity ideology will get them reelected in 2010/2012.

    I can only hope the rest of the country will not do what the ill informed voters of MA did and reward the Republicans in 2010 or 2012 but rather vote for either a true Democrat or Independent.

    February 12, 2010 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. Bassman

    If CNN is serious about being unbiased, and if you want to continue to give us stories about Sarah Palin, then you should give us stories that ridicule her and are sympathetic:
    CHICAGO (AP) — Sen. John McCain wonders what's worse: reading crib notes on your hand or relying on a teleprompter.

    McCain was at a fundraiser in Chicago on Friday and defended former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who was caught last week reading notes written on her hand.

    President Barack Obama famously relies on a teleprompter when he speaks.

    The Arizona senator says he continues to be "entertained" by the attacks the "liberal media" make on his former vice presidential running mate.

    Palin had "Energy," "tax" and "lift American spirits" written on her hand when she spoke last week in Tennessee. She looked down at her hand for a cue during one question.

    February 12, 2010 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Julio Warner Loiseau

    At last this guy recognizes it.
    I am impressed.
    What will be his next move?
    He is going to get fired because Steel will ground him for good.
    If he starts recognize the problem the guy can be a good GOP candidate.
    He is a smart guy making a smart move.
    Let's see the outcome.

    February 12, 2010 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Aunt Bea and Opie

    Come home Lassie,little Timmy is crying,his money bag is empty.

    February 12, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. jfs Memhis, Tn

    They all start out with a variation of this same message. They get elected. They do nothing either because of the GOP ot the resistence from their own party members in Congress. Then the same old cycle starts all over again.

    February 12, 2010 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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