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. Meka



    February 28, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. ruty

    The Republican party only cares about the rich. They have proven that time and time again. So why are they crying now? We found out about all you low lifes, non tax paying fools. That's why they are crying. I am a Sam's shopper and proud of it. Oh by the way I USED to be a Republican. You had me fooled for a long time. Between the two Bushs and Reagan they have sent us to the poor house.

    February 28, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. floridakaye

    So – now the Republican's have turned away from the "Joe Six Pack" label and instead want the "Sam's Club" voters??

    Geech – they really, really, really JUST DON'T GET IT. Until they moderate their ultra-conservative far-right positions and stop slandering anyone who disagrees with them, the voters outside their every-diminishing base will simply turn away. They can try to talk-the-talk of a moderate party (or is that an "urban-suburban-hip-hop" party?)...but until they walk the walk that appeals to mainstream America, they've been banished.

    February 28, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. If you don't like it go back to Europe!

    Pawlenty, stop dividing the voters. Why cant we just be American voters?

    February 28, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. Jeff from Jersey

    If republicans "care" about education then why did they cut the core of education out of the stimulus package?If republicans "care" about healthcare then why have they fought so hard against each and every attempt to make healthcare available to american families?

    The only thing that they really CARE about is losing their OWN jobs and actually having to go look for a real one!They should change the name of their party to the HYPOCITE PARTY!

    Has anyone noticed how willing John McCain HASN'T been willing to "reach across the aisle" about ANYTHING?My how things change when you lose an election.

    February 28, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. chuck


    February 28, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. sowa

    It's going to take more than monosyllabic men's names to bring this party back to life. Call it what you will... Joe, Sam, Mitt, it's obsolete.

    February 28, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  8. do not insult me!!!!!

    How dare you insult me this way. I am a Sam's Club member that is strugglung in this economy. I will never vote for people that have to label a group of people they way they have. We all know that soccer moms mean white working ladies, Joe the Plubmer means white working men. What does Sams Club memebrs mean, white business owner? This is sick. The GOP has been reduced to naoorw minded bigots. This makes me sick.

    February 28, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Annie

    I go to Sam's Club when they have something I need...it is not my every week shopping.

    That being said, I think that I'll stop shopping there (or Costco etc) rather than get stereotyped as a possible Republican.

    Stop whining and come up with feasible alternatives that willwill jump start the economy.....outside of cutting the tax rate on the rich.

    February 28, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Marcus

    Pawlenty doesn't get it either. The problem isn't that the GOP hasn't done their level best to find lowest common denominator issues with older and/or lower income, less educated rural whites – in fact they've done SUCH a fabulous job appealing to that group's basest fears that they've made themselves unpalatable to anyone who ISN'T an older and/or low income, less educated, rural white person.

    As long as the GOP thinks that the culture wars of the 60s are still the defining line in American life, they'll continue to service a shrinking base of regional voters. Fiscal conservatives in metropolitan regions are all in favor of smaller government, as long as that government doesn't operated under the belie that ALL government and regulation is inherently bad. You're not going to get support for the reactionary social positions of the southern Republicans (the current base) in areas like Chicagoland and the northeast – people who live in those areas are less likely to believe that "God" tells them it's a good idea to discriminate (just as they did back in the day when those same southern conservatives said that "God" believed that blacks and whites should be equal but separate).

    We've moved into a new century. Once the Republican party acknowledges that fact and stops trying to live in the middle part of the last century, they'll have taken an important step.

    February 28, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Where have all our businesses gone?

    This coming from the perpetual candidate of a state which had a $5B deficit for 2008. I suggest, Gov. P. that you might want to spend some time touring in your own home state. It you did, you might realize that we have been in a "recession" for a good many years now. What'd ya think the empty strip malls represent anyway (great revenue getters, that). How have all the tax cuts of the Bush era helped bring jobs to our state? Just where have all the outsourced jobs in Minnesota gone? And more to the point, what have you done to stop the outsourcing besides encourage Union busting? But, as I said, you would have to spend time in your home state to understand all of this, and lately we haven't seen much of you, have we. Unless, of course, we tune into the talk show circuts.

    February 28, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. S. Boatman Warrensburg, Mo.

    I voted for change! change from the republican way of running this country! i honestly cant see myself ever voting for a republican again. i will however keep my sams club card.

    February 28, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Old White Virginia Female

    The Republicans can put their token black forward to represent their National Committee and they can talk about appealing to those of us who shop religiously at Sam's Club, but as long as they are represented by the likes of people owning more houses than they can count or so closed minded that they want to deny Darwin and remove books from libraries, the American people will not be deceived into believing that they represent the Democrat constituency. We are now seeing what the Democrats are all about. Economists are telling Obama to spend money and he is directing that spending at something other than big business. We cannot be deceived by any of your charades that you care about the working average American, let alone those who are not working and are considered poor.

    February 28, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Moe, NY

    How insulting to the American people. Well, guess in the eyes of the Republicans I am a "Sam's Club voter" (even if I cannot afford membership) and, I must admit Pawlenty is right as I do not believe the Republicans "are for the working person" or ever will be for the "working person". Pawlenty comes across as condesending and it sounds like he thinks the "Sam's Club voter" is beneath him. Sorry Pawlenty, unfortunately we cannot all be on your level of Rodeo Drive voters. I do not agree with the Republicans/Conservatives on any issues. I suggest they stop this nonsense, get on board and help President Obama fix the mess their party has caused. In other words, stop being obstructionists.

    February 28, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. MS

    This the the best the GOP have and he still believes it is OK to label and pidgeon hole people. They do not understand that people are people. We vote on issues and do have a brain that we use to determine who is and is not trustworty.

    February 28, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Of course the Sam's Club crowd doesn't believe GOP is for the people: they're NOT. DUH!

    After 8 miserable years of Bush it's clear even to the Sam's Club crowd that GOP is for BIG OIL, endless military spending, and THEMSELVES.

    February 28, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. William

    I hope that "off the hook" campaign goes well 😉 It's almost comical to watch them.....but, kinda sad at the same time (just a little).

    February 28, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. putuporshutup

    It would actually to useful if the Republicans could engage on these issues, offering critiques and alternatives where appropriate, perhaps even forging a consensus on the most critical issues. Unfortunately, they appear to be both unable and unwilling to play that role.

    Where is your plan??? show us...

    put your money where your mouth is....!!!

    February 28, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. Melissa

    Hammer, my husband and I are NOT deadbeats. I work, he got laid off and has been looking for 4 months for a job. Don't give me that crap. I'm so sick of the "Obama supporters are all deadbeats" bull.

    February 28, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Cameron Young

    I'm glad Republicans realize it's time to get conservative and reach out to the average American. It's time to dust off the Bush years and get back up. For all you liberals, since you like tax and spend so much, move up to Michigan. It should be a paradise for all of you. The only problem is you probably won't find a job, starting your own business their is almost impossible, and you may have to deal with crime spilling over from Detroit and Flint. If you don't like Michigan, their is California, but I think they have the same problems.

    February 28, 2009 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  21. disgusted

    Republicans lost their principles years ago. Under the last three republican presidents the government and the debt became larger. They are for the rich and big (not small) business and I am done with them and their games.

    They act like our current problems are just a big joke.

    February 28, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  22. Eileen

    ...and they don't have to sacrifice their principles. What principles? The republican party has shown that they have "principles" in word only – their deeds so otherwise. We're currently living the end result of republican principles. No thanks.

    Thanks for the laugh pawlenty – you, palin and jindal should take your act on the road, you're a scream!

    February 28, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  23. david

    mccain handed the election to obama when he selected palin as his running mate. so many republicans voted for obama because of palin.

    February 28, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  24. Chuck

    I know the Democrates have all the answers. I just read about them complaining about Mugabe spending 250.000.00 on his 85th birthday instead of spending it on his nations needs. Yet the democratic media said nothing about Obama spending how many millions on his anauguration. Then spending billions more (we don't have) on this stimulis, 50% of that is not a need but a want. The democrates know but don't care. Because their for the people right.

    February 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. givemeabreakinCA

    It is always a "slogan" with the Republicans. Wal-Mart voters have become Sam's Club voters....get this Republicans....we are AMERICAN voters and we don't buy your hate and blame. We have grown past you, we have seen you for what you are. You should be very afraid of your chances in coming elections.

    February 28, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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