August 17th, 2010
03:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Pawlenty calls Obama 'clueless,' says prez decision next year

 Pawlenty, who recently traveled to the famed Iowa State Fair, is getting tough on President Obama.
Pawlenty, who recently traveled to the famed Iowa State Fair, is getting tough on President Obama.

(Updated with latest Pawlenty comments)

(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty - a likely GOP presidential candidate in 2012 - is stepping up his rhetoric against President Obama, saying the commander-in-chief is "clueless" when it comes to the economy and lacks common sense on the controversial mosque and Islamic center near Ground Zero.

The two-term governor, long thought to be eyeing the White House, also said a decision about his political future will come early next year.

"First of all he is clueless on a number of key issues on our time, including our economy," Pawlenty said of the president on Fox News' "Hannity" program on Monday. "We need to be growing this economy, lightening the burden for…the people that can get the economy going. Instead he is layering on burdens. And then, No. 2, he doesn't have the depth of experience to run a large complex organization particularly in a time of crisis and its getting away from him."

The comments, among Pawlenty's most biting to date directed toward Obama, come days after the Minnesota Republican made his fourth visit since last summer to the early-voting state of Iowa in what was the latest in a string of signals he is gearing up for a presidential bid. Pawlently has also hired veteran political consultants, made trips to other key primary states, and donated heavily to GOP candidates across the country as he seeks to build a base of support.

But while Pawlenty is a two-term governor, vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and was on the short list to be Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential race, public polling shows he trails other well-known Republicans such as Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich in hypothetical 2012 matchups.

Confronting his low name recognition, Pawlenty recently posted a video on his website that offers a biographical snapshot and emphasizes his conservative credentials a full year before the first test in GOP presidential primaries.

On "Hannity," the Minnesota Republican also attacked the president for his recent support of the proposed construction of the Islamic center and mosque blocks away from ground zero.

"It's another example of him playing law professor," said Pawlenty. "This isn't about the technical and hyper-technical legal issues. This isn't about basic decency, judgment, and respect of the appropriate recognition of the crisis that was 9/11… It's about being sensitive, being respectful and having good judgment about not putting a mosque within two blocks of ground zero. Anyone with common sense can see that."

Obama has faced fire from several Republicans for comments he made Friday night saying the issue was a constitutional right. Over the weekend, the president tempered his remarks slightly, telling CNN Senior White House Correspondent Ed Henry that he was "not commenting on the wisdom" of the project, just the broader principle that the government should treat "everyone equal, regardless" of religion.

When it comes to Pawlenty's own timeline for his presidential bid, the Minnesota governor said an announcement will come early next year."

Update: Pawlenty Tuesday continued to criticize Obama's decision to support the controversial Islamic center and Mosque, tweeting, "To improve USA's relations with peaceful Muslims, Obama should tout our relief efforts in Pakistan floods; not defend Ground Zero mosque."


Filed under: President Obama • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (286 Responses)
  1. maine liberal

    "We need to be growing this economy, lightening the burden for…the people that can get the economy going. Instead he is layering on burdens.

    any clues or specifics ... of course not just sound bites

    August 17, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  2. Rush Goebbels

    Poor little Timmy the Chipmunk,please buy this guy a clue.

    August 17, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  3. Tracy

    As a former Democrat and now an Independent, Pawlenty would have my vote. Though, if Hillary decides to jump in for the head of the ticket in 2012, she would have my vote.

    Obama is in over his head and is making Jimmy Carter look like our greatest President ever.

    August 17, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. Robert

    Another example of the G-NO-P bashing but offering no plan of their own. Sometimes what seems right and decent to some is simply not consistent with our Constitution. Such points become moot when put into the framework of government action vs pure political grandstanding. In other words, Pawlenty is talking a big game about something that Constitutionally is irrelevant. In a term often quoted in the Southwest, he is "all hat and no cattle".

    August 17, 2010 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  5. Anonymous

    Yes, Pawlenty please run for the presidency and get Sarah Knucklehead to be your running rate.

    August 17, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  6. rd

    Pawlenty is clueless. I shudder to think what the economy would be like if that idiot McCain and the moron Palin were in the White House.
    Obama saved the auto industry. Imagine how many jobs would have been lost without the bailout. Considering he got the presidency in one of the worst economic downturns in our history and AVOIDED a full out depression, he is doing a GREAT job. The mosque is 3 blocks from ground zero. A lot of muslims were killed 9/11 as well. Why blame an entire culture on the acts of a few nutjobs. If you look at the mindset of the terrorists and look at the rhetoric of the right wing nut cases, they have a lot in common. It's scary.

    August 17, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  7. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Find one Republican who has been willing to help our country during our economic crisis which affects every American, Democrat or Republican. Republicans are clearly clueless if they think name calling helps Americans who need jobs, but then again Republicans don't care as long as they help the rich and get elected.

    August 17, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Independent in NC

    I'm sorry–the Constitution of the United States is a technicality? I have no doubt that he sees it as such, nor do I have any doubt that he'd run roughshod over it given the chance as others in his party seem bent on doing.
    If they're going to run a genious for president, please let them promote a Palin/Quayle ticket if only for the sheer entertainment of it.

    August 17, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. tiff of Lithia

    Well Mr Pawlenty you better come with something better. I personally think our President has more clues in his crusty toe than you've acquired in a lifetime!

    August 17, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  10. mike

    talk about clueless this idiot doesn't even know what the 1st amendment
    reads in our constitution the law is the law if we start changing the law on how we feel then this will no long be america but the land of confusion I guess he has gotten away with pay to play game in his own little world that he doesn't know what the real law means this is not about bending the law to get some votes at other americans expense or is it

    August 17, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Concerned American

    "It's another example of him playing law professor," said Pawlenty. "This isn't about the technical and hyper-technical legal issues. This isn't about basic decency, judgment, and respect of the appropriate recognition of the crisis that was 9/11… It's about being sensitive, being respectful and having good judgment about not putting a mosque within two blocks of ground zero. Anyone with common sense can see that."

    So, kissing the backsides of a few (in comparison to the full population of the US) takes precedence over the Constitution of the United States of America???

    What happened to the Republican credo of Constitutionality? I see, it only fits when it is in your best interest.....Hypocrites!!

    August 17, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
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