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. ricky williams

    I been saying it for what it is since day 1, its un logical as to why they are so against doing anything to get our country ahead! has anyone seen any bill presented by the GOP in regards to health care???... if all other logic has been ruled out... well, I personaly think its because he's black, as in our Presidents black and they are having a hard time dealing with it!

    February 12, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Costello Williams

    Every time something doesn’t get done I BLAME the GOP, since when did we have to 60 votes down the middle among party lines to get something done in Washington?... It doesn’t make since and since it can’t be explained by any other logic... I'll say that the GOP just can’t get a long with a black man on top of the HILL! So instead of support at the bottom and help build our country they will just act like little babies and cry to the dumbest angry people... CONSERVITIVES! ITS sad and The GOP should be ashamed of them selves!!!

    February 12, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. no need to know

    Mr Pawlenty must have fell and bumped his head. He is a Republican who is actually telling the TRUTH, the TRUTH a Republican telling the TRUTH this is an anomoly this is a first, I know Mr Pawlenty must be dillusionary and confused does he remember he is a Republican and all the do is lie and say no to anything that makes sense! He better get help because he may be sick.

    February 12, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. Ain't life strange?

    When Republicans go to DC they never do what they say they're going to do... they do nothing. They are about smear, denial, and obstruction. They protest what the current administration has to do because of their policies. America deserves what it gets if they put these retards (come after me Palin) back in power.

    February 12, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Speaking for Liberals

    Wow...The room is spinning and I'm dizzy...Isn't this one of the signs of the apocolypse...The Republican admited his party was wrong?!? I am ...I'm speechless, almost excited...WAIT
    This guy is a RINO...WAIT! It's Tim Pawlenty...no, that guy is a repug...I SEEN HIM!

    February 12, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. ron

    Hmmm. Is this guy for real or is he just another....DEMON SHEEP thinking he can con his way into the flock?

    February 12, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. Costello Williams

    OOOHHH NO... The TEA bagger undies are going to be in a bunch... real quick!!!

    February 12, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Flagship, NC

    When Bush (GOP) left office, they left us with a 1.2 Trillion dollar debt.
    Obama up to now has brought it up to 1.4 Trillion. That was spending to save our finanical system.

    The GOP is 100% responsible for the way our country is now!!!
    The numbers don't lie!

    February 12, 2010 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  9. Carmelle

    yeah yeah...that's why you need to give the current administration MORE THAN ONE YEAR TO FIX THE MESS YOU GUYS MADE!!!

    February 12, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  10. Susan Frishkorn

    Alas, we hear from a grownup – such a plesant change.

    Republicans ( and Democrats ) need to stow away their egos long enough to do what is best for the Country.

    This is not a footbal game where one team can simply block the progress of another. This is the greatest country in the world with a bright future – unless of course we continue to blow the plays.

    Grow up, Congress. Do the job you are being paid to do.

    Susan Frishkorn
    Pensacola, Fl.

    February 12, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. Pete

    Smoke and mirriors. the gop never had any intentions of doing what they preached and they still do not. It is absolute lunacy to think that if we gave them a another majority or the presicdency they would do any thing different. The reptilelicans may preach the right sermons but when it gets down and dirty they are just politicaians serving their true masters the almighty campagian contributions from the gooey banker,booze and drug industries and of course the almighty war machine makers. Let know man or woman that shut limbo or the isanity hannity and of course bill owronley that the republs or demcrats have only on thing that really motivates them is re-elcection and a big lobbying carrer when they leave office. Also if Sen. Mitch the beyatch Mconnell and his dragon woman wife are just waiting in the wings to wreak more havoc on the Amercian worker I will never ever vote reptillican .

    February 12, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. They call me "tater salad"

    Not a big Pawlenty fan myself but, I have to agree with him on this one!

    February 12, 2010 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    What can you expect when people like Rush, Hannity, Palin running around saying crazy things as if half of this country is Taliban.

    February 12, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  14. teacher

    WOW! Finally an honest Republican. He will probably be the subject of Limbaugh's rants now. Rush will say the Democrats brainwashed him.

    February 12, 2010 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. StevieB

    If Pawlenty spent even a fraction of the time and energy on the problems of Minnesota as he does running ofr president, we'd be in much better shape.

    February 12, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  16. katiec

    Pawlenty is unbelievable. He is constanly running down our president and anything proposed, now he is saying the republicans have made numerous mistakes and need to change. My understanding is the people of Minnesota are not happy with him and being so inconsistant with his statements and where he stands sure leads to confusion.
    He is just another hypocritical republican who is saying anything he can to get attention and, perhaps, some support. From who is hard to tell.

    February 12, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  17. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Wow....a Republican accepting accountability for the mess they created....refreshing and truly amazing.

    February 12, 2010 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  18. harold

    You need to have some tea with all those angered tea bags out there.. And clear their minds......... Huh Republicans? Refreshing statement..

    February 12, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Diane

    I am neither a republican nor a democrat with that said this is what I have to say. It's about time someone from the republican party spoke up and told the truth about why this party have gotten the rear ends kicked, now its time for someone in the democrat party to do the same. The people I blame 1st though is those who elected these liars, and theives you only get what you vote for that simple. I have been saying it for over 30 years now "there is nothing more stupid than an American voter". When the next election comes to be the American people need to vote out every imcumbent and start doing the home work on who they want in, then in the next election 2012 vote the rest of them out. There really needs to be term limits until you people do this nothing will change. I am dam mad and I refuse to take their lies anymore WHAT ARE YOU PEOPLE GOING TO DO?

    February 12, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    The problem Tim is that you say things like this and then immediately follow up with comments that rile up the right wing base. It's called "having it both ways" and you can't.

    February 12, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Steve (the real one)

    Ain't life strange? February 12th, 2010 5:49 pm ET

    When Republicans go to DC they never do what they say they're going to do... they do nothing
    ------------------
    As I said before it is both parties. How many broken promises in this administration so far???? You failed to mention that!

    February 12, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. Gerry NH

    Now the democrats are just as bad as the republicans. My thinking is as a independent is that we need to remove anyone with over 2 terms in congress.

    February 12, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. Steve (the real one)

    Speaking for Liberals February 12th, 2010 5:50 pm ET

    Wow...The room is spinning and I'm dizzy...Isn't this one of the signs of the apocolypse...The Republican admited his party was wrong?!?
    ---------------
    A lot of us are waiting to hear something similar from the DEMS! I guess I won't be getting dizzy for a while!

    February 12, 2010 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Pawlenty Is A Dirtbag

    That's right Pawlenty, and the GOP has done NOTHING to change my opinion. I am a customer/voter and I will be voting against you and your ilk. You can try and change your stripes now because you want to be president, but it won't work. You can try and change your stripes now because you want to run a similar campaign to Brown's, but it won't work. You are still a low-life, filthy Republican who only thinks about yourself and your buddies on Wall Street. You don't care about the average person, unless you are running for an office.

    See you in November when I vote against everything you stand for–big money, big lobby interests and less representation of the people who pay your salary.

    February 12, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    Playing to the tea baggers.........not real smart.

    February 12, 2010 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
1 2 3 4 5