September 2nd, 2010
09:13 AM ET
4 years ago

2012 Watch: Pawlenty defends frequent travel

 Pawlenty visited the Iowa State Fair last month, one of several trips he has made out of state in recent months.
Pawlenty visited the Iowa State Fair last month, one of several trips he has made out of state in recent months.

(CNN) – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty defended his frequent out of state travel to key presidential nominating states and national GOP gatherings Wednesday, the same day a new poll showed a majority of Minnesota voters are unhappy with his frequent campaign jaunts.

"Well, I don't expect that people would like the fact that I'm trying to get around the country and influence the elections in 2010, but I think it's important work," Pawlenty told Fox News Wednesday.

Pawlenty has been a fixture at high profile Republican events across the country this cycle, and has made a string of appearances in early nominating states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Pawlenty's widely believed to be an all-but-announced White House hopeful, though he maintains his sole focus is on helping Republicans in the 2010 elections, and not 2012.

"I think the future of the country's at stake. I think the future of Minnesota's at stake if we don't get a better direction in these elections this fall, so I'm happy to do what I can, and I think it's important work, and I don't measure the value of it by what's important in any snapshot in time," he said.

"The polls come and go; the sentiment of the moments come and go, but I'm gonna do what's right. I think that will stand the test of time," he added.

According to the new survey from Minnesota Public Radio and the Humphrey Institute, 54 percent of Minnesotans aren't too keen on the governor's frequent out of state trips, which usually include visits to important presidential nominating states. Only 31 percent of voters approve of his busy travel schedule.

In even worse news for Pawlenty, the poll indicates Minnesota Republicans apparently would prefer Mitt Romney as their presidential choice than their own governor.

Stacked up against Romney, Pawlently loses 45-32 percent. In a matchup against Sarah Palin, Pawlenty comes out on top 59-24 percent.

The poll surveyed 750 likely voters by telephone between August 25-29 and carries a sampling error of plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. paul

    so the governor of minnesota doesn't care that people don't, "...like the fact that I'm trying to get around the country and influence the elections in 2010, but I think it's important work." what do they count for? he's only their governor. they only elected him to do their work. i think his next answer to that type question will be, i don't care what they think. let them eat cake..... pride shall goeth before a fall

    September 2, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. JOhn

    The people of Minnesota need to realize that republicans do what is best for thier party first ALWAYS ! The country, and your state are at best 3 and 4th on thier list of what matters.

    No amnesty for the Republicans.

    Register your children with selective service, the next Republican surge will require a draft!

    September 2, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  3. Justin

    "I think it's important work to ignore the needs of my state to promote my own ambitions for national office."

    Sounds like Palin. Will Pawlenty resign mid-term, too?

    September 2, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  4. bk

    Oh, the games they play! Just who are they really concerned about? The next election started the day after the last election. The name calling and negative comments are all part of the plan. Some voters are naive enough to believe anything thrown out there rather than do their own research. Free speech means that anyone can say anything about anyone. Just watch the s..t fly the next two years!

    September 2, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Granny Griper

    Of course he can he is a republican and they can defend any amount of money they spend they have the right and the privilege to do so.
    It is unresponsible if dems spend money to help fix this economy only they have the dibs on spending any way they wish. They have a big problem and don't even know it

    September 2, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Linda

    Pawlenty is the most worthless governor in the history of the state of Minnesota!

    He has tanked the state's economy, deceived residents with no increase in taxes, but HUGE HIKES IN SERVICE FEES, does not
    know his backside from page one, and is a total idiot!

    He is a joke, and a republican obstructionist who runs in circles chasing his tail.

    September 2, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. LOVESIRONY

    I was elected governor of Minnesota. I don't care what the people of Minnesota think. My political asspirations are more important than my job of running Minnesota. Oh and I don't care what the people of Minnesota think. I think Minnesota is at risk so I am leaving it as often as I can, Oh and I don't care what the people of Minnesota think. Why should I ? I was elected and then reelected with less than 50% of the vote. Iowa and New Hampshire are in such dire straits I must go there to save them. Oh and I don't care what the people of Minnesota think.

    September 2, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  8. Noocrat in MN

    Please just pull a Palin and resign Pawlenty. You've done enough damage. Our formerly great education system lies in ruins. We use to consistently have on of the top systems in the nation... Now we're ranked 29th?

    The high school I graduated from just 6 years ago now provides less than half of the advanced placement courses as it use to, formerly providing more than any other in MN and more than the majority of the high schools in the US. Many I took are no longer provided. Why give kids a chance to excel when they can be average, I suppose?

    What do they have for foreign languages you ask? Well, when I went there was German, French, Spanish, and Chinese. Now? They can barely afford the Spanish program.

    September 2, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  9. cjr

    this guy is a little jerk – he goes whereever the wind blows. he just signed a bill that will deny folks in MN the right for health care.! Actually he's kind of sily

    September 2, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  10. True American

    Phony conservatism-I hope the taxpayers aren't footing the bill for his campaign travels out of state.

    September 2, 2010 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  11. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    This happens to every state at some point. In 2003, Joe Lieberman bought a place in New Hampshire and spent most of his time there to prep for his unsuccessful run for President. In 2007, Chris Dodd did the same in Iowa. These are disservices to the states that elected these individuals. When Bob Dole ran for the Presidency in 1996, he resigned his seat in the Senate to devote his time for his campaign. While he was unsuccessful, he set a standard for elected officials that only a few have had the courage to follow. This is to Gov. Pawlenty and everyone else who wants to run for President. If you are an office holder, either stay in your state and govern as elected, or resign the seat to free up your time from inconsequential things like budgets, bill signings, maintaining the state's reputation, etc. That way your states can follow whatever procedures are in place for naming a replacement and have someone who is willing to do the job in the place.

    September 2, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. heldinhishand

    Tim Pawlenty is the reason Minnesota is in horrible shape. Our roads are a disgrace, and the state is in debt to the tune of several billion dollars. When he came to office, we had a budget surplus. He keeps saying he hasn't raised taxes, but he just adds "fees" to everything and thinks people can't figure out that those are taxes by another name. The courts have determined that he misused his authority when he couldn't work with the legislature and used line item veto to axe social welfare programs. Minnesotans have had it up to their eyebrows with this guy, and God help the country if he should ever become president. I have to believe voters are mroe intelligent than that! He's not doing the job Minnesotans are (unfortunately) paying him for...he's too busy trying to advance his own political career to actually govern Minnesota. And he calls President Obama "clueless"! The president inherited this mess from the Republicans, and now they are complaining that he hasn't solved it in less than two years!

    September 2, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  13. Bill Olsen

    Translation: I don't care what the people of Minnesota think.. I don't work for them, I work for me!

    Good riddance from this Minnesotan.

    September 2, 2010 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Is Pawlenty using TAX PAYER'S MONEY to do all of this UNNECESSARY travelling on HIS behalf, not his state's? What is he using to get around to these various state visits? Is he flying? How many staff members and family members accompany him on these unnecessary trips? How about security escorts? Once there, do they eat? How often?

    Gosh, I wish I could travel around the country like that for no reason.

    How much money is this costing the poor unemployed people of Minnesota?

    You get where I'm going with this right? Hypocrites.

    September 2, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  15. Laurie

    Typical-bring the state to it's knees and then think of oneself.

    September 2, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. april

    CNN- Would you PLEASE stop giving this fool so much publicity? He pulled his little stunt of screwing us Minnesotans out of the healthcare benefits that our federal tax dollars are paying for to get attention. Please stop giving it to him.

    September 2, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  17. kmp

    Didn't he just decry Obama and his vacation?? Just another Republican hypocrite do as I say not as I do.

    September 2, 2010 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. larry

    Pawlentless added "It is also very important that I eat a giant 1/2 pound tenderloin from pigs and chicks. That's the real reason I spent thousands of taxpayer dollars to be here."

    September 2, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  19. Dave

    Tim, I appreciate your honesty about campaigning around for 2010 elections, also appreciate your wanting to get away from the mosquitos for part of the summer.
    Dave
    formerly of Hoyt Lakes, MN, now living in northern CA, the good part of CA

    September 2, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  20. Lucas Breen

    I live in one of those early primary states, and frankly Pawlenty has been through here so much, I didn't even realize he was still a sitting governor.

    Incumbents like Pawlenty and Palin need to realize that the best way to get elected to higher office is to do your currently job really well. That is the best campaign pitch of all.

    September 2, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  21. Future expat

    Dear T-Paw, of the few people who know who you are, only a handful like you. Please go away.

    September 2, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
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