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. Lu

    I personally prefer Costco.....and the democrats......

    February 28, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Steve in Louisville

    People go to Sam's Club for bargains - even if the company management is insanely anti-worker and will stop at northing to prevent a union drive.

    People go to the Republican Party and get ripped off with a river of lies and distortions aimed at duping the worker into voting GOP. But then all the party does is to support the rich, like the people who own Wal-Mart and Sam's Club.

    The Republicans should try something new: honesty. But, if that were the case, they would have to admit straight up that they mainly stand for the wealthy.

    February 28, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    a group he terms “Sam’s Club voters”

    doesn't that statement alone demonstrate the low regard the GOP has for the middle and lower income Americans?

    February 28, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. MN Voter

    I live in MN and Gov. Pawlenty has done nothing but take a state that was close to #1 in all categories of quality of life and slowly drag it down. He is closely affiliated with the "Taxpayers League" organization and is only concerned about lowering taxes. What he does is lower taxes, but then raise fees on everything. This allows him to say he lowers taxes, but people still end up paying because of the fee increases. We have a huge budget shortfall in our state now. Of course Pawlenty is against raising taxes on high income people even though they currently pay a lower rate than average income people. He also wants to cut a significant number of low income people from health care programs to help with the budget. Apparently he is talking about FOOLING people into believing that the GOP represents the average person, not actually having the GOP represent the average person. Pawlenty sure doesn't.

    February 28, 2009 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. texas teacher

    "Paws" (short for RICH FAT CAT)
    Absolutely they will NOT have to sacrifice their principles! I think their powers of persuasion grows more and more transparent... they just have not noticed it yet! Seriously..... 🙂

    February 28, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  6. Lee


    READ: Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It by Star Parker

    February 28, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Carson New York

    I guess I am just extremely interested to know what Pawlenty and the rest of the GOP are PROPOSING, not what they are OPPOSING!! The reason why this is nothing but despicable politics is that they have no ideas or propositions to lay out on the table as to what we should do. They aren't showing any LEADERSHIP at all! They're just hacking away at what Obama wants to do and hoping he will fail so they can then swoop up more support by saying "I told you so." Meanwhile, I haven't heard a single, concrete idea that the Republicans have to help solve this problem that, oddly enough, was exacerbated by their own horrible insistence that Wall Street be "de-regulated." And you know what? To be fair, I'll blame Bill Clinton for that one as well. If the GOP needs to seriously reconsider so many things about their party but they still think it's just a matter of pandering to the right crowd. I wish them luck as that same crowd goes belly-up after eight years of the GOP.

    February 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Hammer

    You guys are wasting your time posting on this site. 98% of the posters on this site are Obama supporters. They support Obama because he promises to give them money, health care or whatever they need and they are mostly deadbeats that buys their support.
    You would be better off writing to your congressmen, call them or use any means to let your voice be heard. You need to get organized and hold rally ect. because really the only thing that they notice is when you take to the streets.
    It is time for the"Nation of Cowards" to take a stand !

    February 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. P from the IE

    This is sooo funny! The GOP is looking where they are headed. The latest party of "NO" is now looking at Sam's Club members. As a Sam's Club member I do not want the GOP to "target" me or "represent" me...They do not! The GOP marched right along with Bush for 8 years and their track record shows what they truely believe in.

    February 28, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Tina

    I am from Minnesota and have never and will never trust anything Pawlenty has or will ever say. He has taken our state to the lowest it has ever been.

    February 28, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. KW, Vail AZ

    GOP, it's not sufficient to just talk-the-talk, you must walk-the-walk. And, don't think that the American people are going to soon forget your last stint in power.

    February 28, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  12. Charles from Atlanta

    I think they got statistics wrong. Most educated people stay away from GOP, not by income group. Joe the plumber, joe the six-pack,..,especially red neck, most of these folks are easily got manipulated by Rush.

    February 28, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Mikes

    I think the voters spoke very loudly at the last election. The republicans just wiped out near half of all our retirement with their policies and they've had a bunch of toe tapping page chasers, and they had that Colorado preacher chasing the boys in on their weekly meeting with the ex-pres. and the probllem is ours for not enbracing their agenda? When you pushed McCain and Palin in our faces with all that hogwosh of enciting riotous behavior, and outright lies about everything, you lost me for the rest of my voting days. Republicans, spin all you want, it falls on deaf ears.

    February 28, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  14. Ryan W.

    I love how they won't call themselves "The Republican Party." Has anyone else noticed this? It's only referred to as "The GOP" now in statements, press releases, etc. as if to distract from the fact that GOP = Republican.

    Do they really think most people are too stupid to fall for a simple name change? Especially a name change to something that's been ridiculed and mocked by those on the left for decades? Come on.

    February 28, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  15. texas teacher

    Obama – NOPE February 28th, 2009 11:18 am ET

    Romney-Pawlenty 2012 !
    Oh, come on now, Obama-NOPE, you are one of the stupidest of the white sheet- cone hat crowd!

    OH, wait a minute.... Cindy, girl... you lost... get over it! If your hubby could not do it... what makes you think these bozos can? Hahahaha.... you "Paws" are sooo funny.... roaring like lions... when all you are is a bunch of fat house cats who have been riding Bush/Cheney's gravy train.... You purr the same old failed policies! 🙂 Well, we ain't buying... we may shop at Sam's Club, but we have NOT lost our minds!

    February 28, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. FAYE, NV

    CNN whene is my comment I just posted.

    February 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. meh

    Obama – NOPE> Based on the comments on here, I'm thinking that's probably a long-shot.

    Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on us. The American people aren't going to fall for the Republican baloney again.

    February 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  18. Brandon

    Spending almost 2 trillion in your first month!! Thats not change... more of the same, a shot in the arm and saddling future generations with a heavy bill.

    I applaud Republicans efforts to win back voters trust.

    February 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  19. mk3872

    LOL! Pawlenty is refering to the group of Americans that have been put out of work and foreclosed on BECAUSE his party gives tax breaks and the wealth to the wealthiest 1% in America!! ROFL!

    Oh, right, the plan is to just talk to us about guns, God and gays and give all the money to the rich. What a plan! That worked great the past 8 years!

    February 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  20. Jennifer 1244

    I sure do not like what is happening in the White House. I believe that, unfortunately, after people start opening their eyes to what is happening under Obama, the country will bear evidence of rresults they had not foreseen. Obama needs to show he can not only show good intentions and great speeches, but that he can get effective results and ultimately not take our country from very bad he inherited to even worse. We need change but we need experienced leadership that can make those changes slowly. People and situations do not change fast, as any analysis of true and permanent change shows. We may definitely not need another Bush but we do not need to go to the opposite extreme with Obama's ideology, either. It's still a few years until the next election and time will tell if Obama ultimately helps or damages this country more and if the Republicans can come up with any workable, effective solutions. Herein lies the Republican challenge.

    February 28, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. mapu

    “Sam’s Club voters” — don’t believe Republicans “are for the working person.”
    Don't get confused,he is probably talking about the "white" members.

    Did anybody bought into the Steele/Jindal inclusiveness skim? Soon to come "a gay as press secretary" 🙂
    I rather them being honest bigots than hypocrites.
    Hopefully having Steele as the voice of his "master" Rush don't get people confused.
    BTW, JIndal was talking to the people of "Whoville" they are not going through a recession right now.

    February 28, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. chuck


    February 28, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. FoCo

    As a democrat that was a republican for 30 years I have a suggestion. Stop the name calling, if you can rein in the Limbaughs and the Hannities and the Pawlenties to stop the name calling you will have reached a first great step.

    February 28, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Bob

    Gee....All this rehashed right wing jibberish coming out of republican Pawlenty's mouth in " a closed door meeting"......Imagine that.......Lot of "transparency" in that kind of sterile, filtered environment, right cons? LOL!!! They just don't get it: the GOP has ZERO ideas, and the American public knows it....They are toast at least for the next decade.....

    February 28, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. JJ

    Look what those Financial Conservatives did to us over the last 8 yrs.


    NOTHING compared to what the Dems just did in the past 30 DAYS.......

    February 28, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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