February 28th, 2009
11:16 AM ET
13 years ago

Pawlenty urges GOP outreach to 'Sam’s Club voters'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/28/art.pawlenty.cpac.cnn.jpg caption="Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the GOP must stress its commitment to job creation."]

(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told the Conservative Political Action Conference Saturday that Republicans must do a better job of reaching out to working class voters, a group he said agrees with the GOP on most issues, from gun rights to heath care to education.

The problem, Pawlenty said, is that lower and middle income voters - a group he terms “Sam’s Club voters” - don’t believe Republicans “are for the working person.”

He said the party must stress its commitment to job creation and market itself “with a feel and concern and tone and an understanding of the importance and the challenges of the working class of this country.”

“And it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our principles to do it,” Pawlenty said.

Like most of the Republicans who have addressed the annual gathering of conservatives this week, Pawlenty chided the White House for passing a “sprawling spending buffet” disguised as an economic recovery package.

The governor bemoaned the president’s budget plan, unveiled earlier this week, which predicted a $1.75 trillion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year.

“A day or two later the Democrats convened a fiscal responsibility summit,” he said. “What’s next? Are they going to have Rod Blagojevich convene an ethic summit?”

Pawlenty and his wife Mary also spoke Friday night to a closed-door reception for “Rebuild the Party,” a web-based grassroots initiative to modernize the party

Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Obama - NOPE

    Romney-Pawlenty 2012 !

    February 28, 2009 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. Doug

    Do republicans have plans on healthcare or education? If so, they've done an incredibly poor job marketing them. After the last few years i thought their policies were limited to tax cuts and national security.

    February 28, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. big papa

    Dear God,

    Please destroy ALL conservative Confederate traitors...


    February 28, 2009 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Justa Person

    Frankly many of us are just tired of "parties" all together. Neither seem to stand much for anything except themselves and how wealthy they can make each other.

    February 28, 2009 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  5. Joe

    Pawlenty is blind. He thinks Republicans can tell people anything and they'll believe it go along with it even though their policies say something different. How stupid does he think people are??? Just tell the people something and they'll believe it!!!! Of course.... how smart. Ugghhh.........

    February 28, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. Steve

    Just because we're Sam's Club voters, doesn't mean we're stupid. We've watched Republicans spend money on their wealthy friends' businesses like drunken sailors for 8 years. The actions and the "values" don't match. No one likes liars. If you can't adhere to your principles, then they aren't principles. They're just BS. Reagan was a true conservative. He's probably twirling in his grave right now at what "new conservatives" are doing. You Republicans have a long way to go to get back to your roots. Give us a call when you finally get there....

    February 28, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. Robert, Houston, TX

    No the problem is the party allowed itself to be hijacked and gave up the values of fiscal conservatism for social conservatism.

    The party was at its best when it stood for less taxes, less government intervention.

    But the last 8 years has shown that this is the party of NO: "no, you democrats can't spend, only we can", "no you can't do that, the bible says not to, we're going to make it law and the government will make sure you can't".

    Get rid of the extreme right and maybe the GOP will survive. This country is right of center on fiscal policies and left of center on social ones.

    February 28, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. David

    FYI if you're an American Political party you had better reach out to all Americans period no matter where they shop. GOP stop seperating us.

    February 28, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. j haigh

    Republicans always sound patriotic around election time, but as soon as they are elected to office they fall back to their real identity – F- the average American and lets protect and reward the rich!

    February 28, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  10. David W.

    “And it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our principles to do it...."

    they just need to come around to our way of thinking.... after all, we can't be the one who are wrong here, can we?

    February 28, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  11. Labels

    modernize the party

    I don't understand what part the republican party doesn't get..

    We voted for CHANGE

    the only way you can modernize your party .. is CHANGE

    February 28, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  12. JOE

    Another moron REPUBLICAN.....Just like his big daddy BUSH..

    February 28, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Dawn

    How can I trust the Republicans, they had taken this Great Country to a wimpy US. We as Americans needs to fight for what is right for us. Some people don't believe in Global warming, but check out the amount of asthma victims in the last thirty years. it is grown, skin cancer?

    We needed change...

    February 28, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. Kathy S. Cloughn

    Please...get Pawlenty and Coleman out of the state of Minnesota.

    February 28, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  15. tjaman

    It took two election cycles for "Sam's Club voters" to realize the GOP didn't give the hindquarters of a rat about them - and that the party's base economic fetish of transferring wealth from the poor to the rich is, in fact, screwing them. It became so transparent by the end of the no-bid administration that even the least politically engaged of those "Sam's Club voters" (an appelation fairly dripping with contempt, btw) had to concede that the Democrats sound more like they care about them all the time - and not just every fourth November. So, to Pawlenty and the GOP, your Sam's Club card has expired. 😛

    February 28, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  16. Daniel, Atlanta, GA, ex-republican

    The Repubs can blame Obama for the spending, but that's a bit hypocritical! For once, we have a president who actually kept the military spending in the budget so that we actually know how much we're paying! Bush spent untold amounts of money and hid it from the rest of the country! Repugnants need to find themselves again! That usually takes an inward look with honesty at themselves instead of blaming others for their problems.

    February 28, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  17. wahwahwah

    Does anyone remember the Peanuts/Charlie Brown cartoons and the teacher ?

    wah wah wah, wah wah wah

    Doesn't that sound like the New and improved republican party?

    February 28, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. rumpusgoopus

    I guess Pawlenty's "Wal-Mart voters" didn't take off as well as he hoped.

    That actually isn't a joke.

    February 28, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  19. katiec

    Wow, where is his head buried? The American people DO NOT
    support the republicans policies, ideas, tactics.
    We voted for change, not more politics as usual.

    February 28, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Lawton Apartments

    You know, I took a look at what Mitt Romney was saying yesterday at that conference, and they were playing the same country music that they've played over and over...can we get beyond the lack of diversity that the GOP wants to stick to? It is working, folks, recognize that there's more to America than a country singer with a fake twang.

    February 28, 2009 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Linda in MS

    State of denial, my foot! These guys need to take a good, hard look in the mirror before opening their mouths and making such comments.
    They have this insulting way of categorizing the American people according to where we shop, pray, and play (NASCAR), hockey. Give me a break, please. That comment only confirms that the Rebublican Party is led by a group of men who are totally out of touch with Americans who are not like them.
    The wisecrack about Blago and an ethics summit is only funny because the GOP has it's fair share of wrongdoers, also. I think I am going to burn my Sam's Club Card in protest.

    February 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  22. greg, FL

    Unfortunately for Mr. Pawlenty, Republican policies have favored the "haves" over the "have nots" forever. In fact that's the core of Republican policy. It's message to the people is "You're on Your Own", "I Got Mine, Now You Get Yours".

    People know that tax cuts are useless if you don't own investments, and especially useless if you don't have income to tax.

    So the governor is going to have a real hard time recruiting the Sam's Club crowd. Or, to be more precise, taking the Sam's Club crowd from the Democrats.

    February 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  23. Jesse Curry

    Maybe people don't believe the GOP is for working people is because they're not...

    February 28, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. katiec

    CNN, am sure I am not the only one making comments, but what
    good are they if you do not post?

    February 28, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  25. Nick

    Uh, hate to tell you this, Tim, but the "Sam's Club" voters are already your base. The Republican leadership is so confused right now next thing you know we'll hear Mitch McConnell telling his supporters that they need to start reaching out to NASCAR fans.

    Face it, you people ran the country for eight years and look where we are now. If things are still just as bad after Obama finishes his time in office then go ahead and complain all you want but it's just plain ignorant to try and blame the Democrats for everything right now after you were in charge for so long while everything fell apart.

    February 28, 2009 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
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