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. Gerry NH

    When a person is elected president without any accomplishment in his life this is what you get. He was left with a mess but he is just making everything a bigger mess.

    August 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. moesmum

    These right wing idiots have very short memories. Back when we were in the middle of the gas crisis, GWB was asked "live" at a news conference about his thoughts about gas prices reaching $4 per gallon. His response....duh, I hadn't heard about that. Now, THAT is clueless!

    August 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  3. Yates

    Pawlenty is correct. Obama depth of experience was paper thin and he is clueless on the economy as he had never run anything. Believe or not those things matter as CEO's are not hired without prior experience. The only thing that would buoy Obama is if the GOP took control on Congress in November with new ideas & reduced spending. Otherwise Obma will continue these self-inflicted wounds that will be fatal to a second term.

    August 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  4. Dean

    So Tim and apparently all the Republicans are saying we should throw out the 1st and 4th amendments and arbitrarily abridge people's property rights because the way some people feel ?

    Wow, how the Republican party really descended to the point where it will completely abandon all of their principals to score a small and short term PR victory ?

    Yes, yes it has.

    I predict the Dems give in on the issue, and the Republicans will shout their "victory" to everyone except the history books, which will clearly mark it as the greatest defeat the Republicans have ever suffered.

    August 17, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Robert

    Hey Timmy - when the President of the United States defends and applies the U.S. Constitution and freedom of religion, he's not being "hyper technical" - unless you have a hard time understanding the plain English in that document (have you even read it?). Either you support freedom of religion, or you don't. Apparently you don't, at least where American Muslims are concerned. Good luck in your bid to lead the Republican Taliban.

    August 17, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  6. Former Democrat

    I have to agree. His policies are having a long-term negative effect on our economy and he says stupid things. For such an intelligent man, Obama has turned out to be quite a doofus.

    August 17, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  7. gt

    clueless is just one of many words ... how about gutless...

    August 17, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  8. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    Ha ha your joking right pawlenty I think your clueless. Same tired ass policies that got us in this mess are the same ones you are still promoting. It's funny that conservatives can't say when there policies have ever really worked. Please spare me the Clinton presidency with the republican congress argument. Clinton veto the republican budget twice before he signed the one he wanted.

    August 17, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  9. pkb

    Of course, according to right leaning CNN. Pawlenty, Palin, et al, who get a great amount of coverage from CNN, are clueless. These GOPers make me ill with their mindless chatter and media seeking comments. They have absolutely nothing to offer America. We've seen what they did to America under Bush/Cheny. Americans should remember and remember a lot. We never want to go there again!!

    August 17, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Owhiner

    He is a community orginizor, so yes he is a worthless and clueless.

    August 17, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  11. Charles

    The economy has grown for four quarters in a row, Mr. Governor. Maybe you're the one who needs to get a clue.

    August 17, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  12. Paul in Houston

    Another disrespetful GOP..

    August 17, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  13. Chris from San Antonio

    Yes, let's "lighten the burden for the people" by eliminating their unemployment benefits. Brilliant!!

    As for clueless on key issues, let's take a look:
    Major Health Care reform? passed with no help from GOP
    Major Wall Street reform? passed with no help from GOP
    Major Economic Stimulus Package that has demonstrated key stoppage in the downward economic slide? passed with no help from the GOP

    August 17, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. Ron in california

    Pawlenty is right. Obama seems to make poor decision after poor decision.. His Staff is the worst a president has had except for Carter and Nixon. He is out of step with the voters on mist issues.

    August 17, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  15. Ben

    For once someone has the guts to stand up and tell it like it is. Good job, Tim!

    August 17, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  16. JDD

    At face value, a pretty accurate assessment of the current Administration. I wonder how many posters will choose instead to attack the messenger.

    Never I again, I hope, will we vote in charisma and overlook obvious lack of credentials.

    The Office of President of the United States simply must require the candidate to prove his abilities in lesser forums – and through multiple seasons – before being given the reins of the Entire Country.

    August 17, 2010 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  17. MRQ

    Well, I wonder if his economical advisers, if he even has any, are as good as presidential economic advisers. No. No they are not.

    He is just spouting platitudes.

    August 17, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Bill

    Just look where he made his comments about the President. Need I say more!!!!

    August 17, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. kari

    These people are out to demonize Obama. And there are plenty of clueless people that believe anything they hear from people that proclaim to be "Christians." It is disgusting.

    August 17, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  20. Lee

    Pawlenty....typical right-wing ideologue and fear-mongerer. Notice he proposes nothing new himself, just attacks and criticizes. What a loser.

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  21. Nunnery

    Clueless is entertaining the notion that our opinions are valid or required in this mosque issue. We have a constitution that clearly spells out the rights of everyone. We can complain, but unless our elected officials pass an amendment to the constitution, our opinions mean squat.

    And rightly so! We cannot change our national policies based on current public opinions. If we did that we would be no better than the terrorists we are trying to stop.

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  22. SdJ

    So Pawlenty thinks that Obama is clueless because "We need to be growing this economy."

    Umm...and Obama has been advocating shrinking apparently? Don't you just love these sinister innuendos...Really sad that people buy into this drivel. I wonder what part of the tax rebates Obama initiated at the start of his term can be considered adding a "layer of burden" according to the GOP.

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  23. Chas

    Really! No one can be more clueless than GW Bush, Chaney, and the do-nothing, say-anything Republicans – oh yes, then there's the Republican saviour – Sarah "No-Brain" Palin! This guy is as much a joke as his whole party.

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. Anonymous

    "It's another example of him playing law professor," said Pawlenty. "This isn't about the technical and hyper-technical legal issues."

    Mr Pallenty, it is about Constitional Law. Would you strip the Constitutional right of these private property owners to build whatever they wish, or would you rather deny their freedom of religion?

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Shucks

    Clueless? And the GOP has all the answers. This is absolutely laughable. I can only guess what a GOP president, senate, and congress would acheive. First on the agenda would be to change the Constitution to read religiously. The tax cuts for the wealthy would be tripled, (as we all know how well the first one helped the economy), gays would be at the mercy of right wing religious zealots, in other words, inhumane treatment would not be out of the question, including deprogramming. I could go on and on, but at this point it is useless. I just cannot wait to retire as I will be leaving the USA in my dust as I exit to a country that believes in freedom for all and equality for all.

    August 17, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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