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. Dave

    "We need to be growing this economy"...that's his solution? Does he have a clue what it takes to actually make that happen? You don't just say it and it happens. Does he think the President is trying to shrink the economy? The President isn't playing law professor, he's doing his job to protect the constitution. Of course it's not the wisest thing to do, building a mosque next to ground zero, but the NY Zoning Commission passed it and it's their right to build it there. Pawlenty is going to go down in flames if he runs.

    August 17, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    I don't know how long it took Pawlenty to come to this conclusion, but most of us figured it out by February of 2009, along with his being inept, eilitist and a union toady, as well as corrupt. We know this loser will be a one term president, but we need someone really good to replace him and get us back on track. Lets just get rid of the liberal majority in Congress this year and then figure out what we can do about replacing this idiot the liberals stole the presidency for in 2012.

    August 17, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Mr. Moderate

    And again, whine, complain and attack but not offer any alternatives and solutions. How would you grow the economy?

    August 17, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. Dave

    Republicans just sound more insane every time they open their mouths.

    Why would anyone trust them? They've done nothing but destroy the country and desperately try to shift the blame for it. And they're destroying the Constitution and trying to replace it with theocracy... a form of government that's destroyed every civilization that's tried it. And you can see what Republican policies have done for the South, which has been voting for them for decades and still come in behind the rest of the country. If Republican policies actually worked, the South would be leading the nation instead of lagging behind it.

    I'm not crazy about Democrats, but I'll keep voting for them just because that keeps Republicans out of office. America is too great a country to be entrusted to these idiots.

    August 17, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  5. jeanne

    please tell mrs. potus to stop buying things for the house...they won't be there much longer.....

    August 17, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. FIRSTLOOK

    Like you are? I am from MN and believe me you are incoherent & clueless of the mess you you are leaving - unbalance budget, cuts to healthcare for the needy, cuts to the hospitals, cuts to anything related to people. Except for the wealthy.

    August 17, 2010 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. char

    Barack Obama gets off on doing the opposite of what the american people want. If thats not scary I dont know what is. Nobody knew this man until opera winfrey interduced him in 2008. He needs to be investigated. look at his friends and his priest. shall i say more?

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. mack

    Bush was clueless more so....Bush had no idea how to execute his duties...George Washington had no idea...most presidents had no idea – so what else is new????????? Just another Repub talking nonsense to the stupid masses of ignorant republican followers.

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Gee

    It's truly amazing how the media cricify Obama for everything he does. There have never been this must direct disrespect for any President of the US. Obama is in a no win situation. If he would have said he doesn't feel that muslims don't have a right to build a mosque on near the grounds of 911. The left would be yelling, for the first time in American history, the President of the US is violating the rights of Aerican citizens, to own property and build what they want as long as building permits and laws are followed.

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Haren

    He can say anything on fox news, but I am sure he himself is clueless and does not know like Rush limbaugh about the world or religions.

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. Deepak

    Obama is playing with politics not respecting the AMERICAN at all. Mosque should not be permitted at any place any more.
    What are you doing man? Are you sick?

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. mags

    I think the move to the build the mosque is just plain tacky. All Obama had to say was to indicate he thought the same. But he's either too politically correct or dare I say it not smart enough to state the obvious.

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. FreedomFirst

    Islam is a religious philosophy as well as a POLITICAL philosophy.
    We should not tolerate shiriah law in the US, in direct conflict of our legal system, flawed as it may be.

    August 17, 2010 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Video Guy

    He should be in Minnesota trying to fix all the problems he has caused.
    This mans actions dealing with education should earn him jail time rather than playing statesman.

    August 17, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. Greg Pottstown PA

    Pawlenty is just stating the obvious.

    August 17, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Spado

    Clueless is the perfect description.

    August 17, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. jay

    Clueless, where was this clown the past eight years, he's clueless.

    August 17, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. BR

    By all means let's get the Republican/Tea Party back in charge. We still have lots of young people to send to their deaths. There are still a handful of countries that don't hate us. Last but not least we can hasten the destruction of the environment so people can quit doubting that it's happening. Sign me up.

    August 17, 2010 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. Gee

    It's truly amazing how the media crucify Obama for everything he does. There have never been this much direct disrespect for any President of the US. Obama is in a no win situation. If he would have said he doesn't feel that muslims have the right to build a mosque on grounds of 911. The left would be yelling, for the first time in American history, the President of the US is violating the rights of American citizens, to own property and build what they want as long as building permits, codes, and laws are followed.

    August 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  20. Kathy

    Pawlenty is the clueless one. Please crawl back under your rock with Bachman and the other idiots from Minnesota!!!

    August 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. Jerry Diaz

    I bet none of the Repugs will call for the Gov to step down after launching his latest attack. If Bush were in office and a Democrat said that about him, there would be a call to riot in the street and labels of UnAmerican as well. Go ahead Pawlenty, say what is on your mind, you will be joining all the others who have no true plan or substance in watching Obama take on a second term!

    August 17, 2010 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  22. Anonymous

    This is another clown trying to bash his opponent! I find this so funny that high school games carry on into professional careers and even worse important federal matters. Why is this nation so immature and backwards. The American citizen is getting lazy, and more lazy! What happen to taking initiative and being pro active in a positive manor! What happen to the innovated American that is resilient to opposition and strives to be the best we can. ROME HAS FALLEN...again...LMAO

    August 17, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. FactCheck

    How are those property tax hikes that you instigated going over with your contingency?

    I've met small animals with more fiscal common sense than Pawlenty.

    August 17, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. Pa Santigie

    And how large is the State of MN's economy? I do not see people flocking to Minnesota in the millions to seek jobs that Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has created by his "clued" leadership. Where is the Oasis of economic vibrance that he has in his two terms created in Minnesota? I think the good Gov. should hold his hot air to heat up his state in the coming winter.

    August 17, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  25. katiec

    The people of MN are completely upset with Palenty on decisions he has made and ignoring his responsibilities. How he can point a finger at others is, of course, a continuation of the republicans hypocrasy and propaganda.
    How anyone can support a party that is trying to create further destruction of our country, has and are willing to sacrifice the American people for Wall St and the rich is beyond me. A party who has lost all creditibility, ignored what they were elected to do and that is represent us.

    August 17, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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