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. Erik in Real Pennsylvania

    The Republican Party has once again demonstrated it does not care to re-invent itself. All these GOP leaders speaking at the right wingnut CPAC only proves these people have no interest in connecting to the average American, despite Joe Plumber-Sixpack-Whatever rhetoric to the contrary. The CPAC mindset is EXACTLY why the Republican Party suffered such crushing losses during the last two elections.

    And while we're at it....

    Did this reallly happen?
    Michael Steele, addressing Conservative Political Action Conference: “Tonight, we tell America: we know the past, we know we did wrong. My bad." As Steele concluded his remarks, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann — the event's moderator — told Steele he was “da man.” “Michael Steele! You be da man! You be da man,” she said.

    Did he actually say "My BAD???" And did some crazy-eyed white woman call him "Da Man???"

    The GOP has gone completely around the bend.

    February 28, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. jackson

    Sweet! Lie -Lie-Lie it is the RePUBICan way. GOP has no plans they are now the "Grand Obstructionist Party"...

    February 28, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  3. Denise

    This GOP parade of spokespeople reminds me of the old tv series, The Gong Show. How much crap can they throw against the wall until something finally sticks. No wonder, Joe The "Whatever" He is one of their speakers. Plumbers are usually surrounded by crap! Yes, even pretend plumbers. Did his gig as a war correspondent not pan out?

    February 28, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    Leave Mooseburger Palin behind. She is not much more than a joke. And stop listening to Rash Limpballs who is from another planet, He is nothing but hateful and offers no suggestions to help.

    Find a moderate, as most Americans don't like those who are too far to either side (Right OR Left wing), and say no those religious bible thumpers. They won't help either.

    Be inclusive to all, not to just those who agree with you on every issue.

    February 28, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Denise

    I'd bet that Rush Limbaugh has shopped at Sam's Club. Where else can you buy junk food and steaks in bulk?

    February 28, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  6. republican hater

    NEVER NEVER VOTE REPUBLICAN! They are for the WHITE RICH and they hate GAYS, BLACKS, and really have the POOR AND MEXICANS.


    February 28, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. W. Jackson

    Governor Pawlenty should better familiarize himself with demographics of a "Sam's Club Voter". Sam's Club's motto is "Were in Business for Small Business", consequently, many of their customers are small business owners who's annual incomes are at the upper end of the middle income brackets, not lower.

    The point's the same either way, however. Most of us have lost faith in the GOP's ability to ever be relevant to the vast majority of Americans, given their blatant pandering to the most economically priviliged and far right religious among us. The problem they have now created is to upset the balance of power and reason in the system. We are well on our way to "leveling the playing field" through taking from the "haves" and giving it indescriminately to the "have nots" without regard to the worthiness of the recipients. I seem to recall that being tried before......ever hear of the Bolsheviks, Communists, Lenin or Castro?

    February 28, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Sam who?

    I wont buy from them or wallmart because they screen their reading material and make sure its right wing only.They dont burn books,they just ban them.They and wallmart also order large volumes of books like Ann Coulters so they make the top 10 without ever having to print them.I see this trick as fudging the numbers of best sellers ,even when they havent sold enough to really make the top 10.Please post this Peter and CNN.

    February 28, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. carole

    Until the Republican party stops dividing the country with
    categorization (Sam's Club voters), demonizing anyone who doesn't
    agree with them 100%, and learns to work WITH the rest of the
    people in this nation, they will remain in the wilderness where
    they belong. They can yell "socialist" all they want, but until they
    get serious about governing for the good of all, instead of just running
    towards the next election, they will continue to be shunned by the
    majority of Americans. Been there, done that for too many years.
    The jig is up.

    February 28, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  10. Denise

    Why is it then that so many have nots support the GOP? Unfortunately, I live in a red state (you know one of those states with the highest welfare and lowest income per capita). Many of the depressed areas are full of bible thumping, NRA, racist, homophobes who are on the government teat. Hypocrisy at its finest!

    February 28, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  11. max

    So which is the party of inclusion? Are the people posting here representative of the democrats? If so, they are far from inclusive.

    Both parties suck but, based on the comments posted here, I would be hard pressed to agree with these "democrat" principles.

    Anyone who so rabidly supports any party or politician hasnt been paying attention for decades.

    so we have 20 percent rabid dems. 20 percent rabid repubs. that leaves 60 percent of the country voting for the least mentally damaged candidate in an election rather than a "good" choice.

    February 28, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  12. Denise

    Who will be Da Man? lol Keep these folks front and center.

    February 28, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  13. glen

    I don't think either party supports the people like they should. Republicans strayed from their principles regarding spending. The Democratic party now proposes spending plans that dwarf anything that has been seen in my lifetime. Neither party acknowledges that our national debt is fast approaching a point of being unsupportable.

    You Obama supporters... Do you really believe that Obama and the Democratic party can deliver everything promised to the "common person" and only tax the very high income earners to pay for it? If you believe this is possible, you need to do some research and get some facts to support that belief. There is not enough money to tax at the high income levels to pay for these proposals. Besides, since when do real American citizens aspire to the belief that someone else should pay for their benefits? I thought we were a country that believed in self sufficiency and doing for ourselves.

    American companies and households have been forced to reduce expenses and make hard decisions. Unfortunately, our political leaders cannot seem to see that all levels of government should follow suit. So while we all cut back, the Federal, State and Local governments continue to expand, and promise that nobody will have to pay....

    February 28, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  14. Perusing-Through

    The GOP cannot change their stripes. Their sole concern is for rich abusive corporate fat cats. SAMs Club voting electorate is just collateral waste the Republican Party to tolerate and/or use when necessary. And financially poor uneducated Limbaugh ditto-heads are just there for the taking.

    February 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  15. Perusing-Through

    The GOP cannot change their stripes. Their sole concern is for rich abusive corporate fat cats. SAMs Club voting electorate is just collateral waste the Republican Party tolerates and/or use when necessary. And financially poor uneducated Limbaugh ditto-heads are just there for the taking.

    February 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  16. Rita

    I'm old enough to remember when the Democratic party WAS for the working man, but I was a kid then. Obama will ensure its the welfare party.

    February 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Pawlenty is the only Republican who agrees that the focus should be about the people and not the party. But unfortunately Pawlently is talking to the wrong party, Republicans are not going to sacrifice their greed for the people, never have and never will.

    February 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Seattle Sue

    Are you aware that 10.3 million jobs were created during President Carter four years in office? During President Bush (41) 4 years there were 2.6 million jobs created. During President Bush (43) there were 2.11 million jobs created. During President Reagan 8 years there were 16.1 million jobs created. During President Clinton 8 years there were 22.7 million jobs created.So under Republican control for 20 years there were a total of 20.81 million jobs created and under Democratic control for 12 years there a total of 33 million jobs created. PS I found this information on Wikipedia. I think the Democrats are the best for working people.

    February 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. Gene

    All these stories tell the problem with this country. Rather than working to fix things now.. the republicans are already campaigning for 2012.

    Repubs need to forget about campaigning for a couple years and start worrying about fixing our problems. 2 years.. 1 1/2 years is more than enough to campaign.

    February 28, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. shootingmans

    And another "future star" of the GOP goes down in flames. Why don't you just call us all street scum voters? It's probably what you call us behind closed doors anyways.

    Someone made a comment earlier about being fed up with both parties, and I agree. Neither one really represent the best interests of blue coller workers. They're more interested in getting as rich as possible, and to heck with the rest of us.

    February 28, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. texas teacher

    "And it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our principles to do it,”
    Pawlenty said. These Principles have failed repeatedly... what makes the GOP think that all we need is Rush Limbaugh and Company to shove this idea down our Collective Throats to make it work..... AGAIN. Even the most stupid of stupids must see by now that these are the Principles of the Republican Party.... same ole same ole!Gotch ya... GOP! 🙂

    February 28, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Bmovie

    the only people they are reaching out to is the Stepford club.. We saw this B movie..

    involves the married men of the fictional town of Stepford, Connecticut, and their fawning, submissive, impossibly beautiful wives. The protagonist is Joanna Eberhart, a talented photographer newly arrived from New York City with her husband and children, eager to start a new life. As time goes on, she becomes increasingly disturbed by the zombie-like Stepford wives, especially when she sees her once independent-minded friends — fellow new arrivals to Stepford — turn into mindless, docile housewives overnight. Her husband, who seems to be spending more and more time at the local men's club, mocks her fears.
    As the story progresses, Joanna becomes convinced that the wives of Stepford are actually look-alike gynoids, manufactured in secret at the men's club. She visits the library and reads up on the pasts of Stepford's husbands and wives, finding out that some of the women were once high achievers, while some of the men were brilliant engineers and scientists, capable of creating such life-like robots.

    February 28, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Ken from missouri

    Gov Pawlenty you and the rest of your party need to remember that
    wall street cannot function without main street and your party has forgotten that and untill the repubs show the working man how they
    can directly improve our lives they will be a minority party.

    February 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. Jack in Florida

    Lip service, pandering to get the votes.

    February 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Michele Bachmann "We're running out of rich people!"

    Please leave me alone to shop in peace .... thanks

    February 28, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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