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. tag

    republicans are in exile-they don't GET IT, SNOBS

    February 28, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. vs

    gop is done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Susan

    Here's a news flash for you, Governor Pawlenty! Most Americans do NOT agree with the GOP on most issues. And, it's going to take more than an "attitude adjustment" to make that happen!

    February 28, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  4. Art Roberts

    It appears that "Sam's Club voters" are not in the Repugs league. That is OK, we are not in theirs either.

    February 28, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  5. JB

    Such anger. I am guessing hypertensive med sales are going way up in blue states. I thought that once Bush left, you all would relax a little, but, man. Take a deep breath people. Let me be the bearer of bad news. . . .these things cycle. In a few years, R's will control Congress. . . . and a few years later, the presidency. A few years later, the dems will control congress. . . . and so on and so on. R's aren't some evil organization attempting to ruin your lives. . . and similarly dems aren't out to take from the rich and give to the poor. In truth, there is VERY little different between the two parties (I believe that is the inherent problem with our system). If you look at other political systems, there are much greater differences in multiple party systems. Either way, relax. . . . .take your meds and go fly a kite. These things go on and on and on. And if you don't relax, you'll be miserable forever. Besides, now is the time fort dems to relax and repubs to be fired up. Everyone needs a break : )

    February 28, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  6. Susan in NC

    Governor Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann from the same state - that's really, really scary and I don't mean Democrats "afraid" of Republicans scary - I mean truly scary!

    February 28, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. thomas

    Sam' Club workers "don’t believe Republicans 'are for the working person'." –
    Gee, I wonder why. Could it possibly be because Republicans are anti-union and have a record of union busting? Good luck with that strategy, Tim.

    February 28, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  8. Moving Forward!

    I would just like to know are these Sam's Club Member's Pawlenty's talking about located in the REAL AMERICA???? HEY GOP the majority of Real America voted democrat and for CHANGE!! Apparently the republicans were on the first flight out for never never land so they didn't hear the election results! Good luck with the Sam's Club Member's GOP!!

    February 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. Bill

    Please give me a break the only thing the GOP wants is for some body to vote GOP. After they receive your vote they will continue to the extream right wing of the party,

    Please give it a rest we heard it all before big tent party you can come in sure. However, after you are in we only listen to the extream right wing of the party.

    February 28, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. thomas

    “And it doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice our principles to do it,” Pawlenty said.
    How can you sacrifice something you don't have?

    February 28, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. angela losangela

    I totally agree. Sam's Club people work hard for what they have, unlike most Democrats. Obama and Democrats want to live off the sweat of the workers of this country. However Marxists are always swept into the sewers of history, and it will happen to Obama and the current Democrat Party dictatorship.

    February 28, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Louisiana gal..

    CNN, why have you not posted that Jindal told a false story in his rebuttal speech??


    February 28, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Len

    The Republican party has no plans to address: health care, education or energy needs. It is always based on the same policies: tax cuts for the top, tax cuts for big businesses(because they will create jobs), the need to have guns, no need for family planning, and against gays.

    Let us not forget who brought us to this economic problem. The Republicans were in control for six years (House and Senate) and allowed the White House to deregulate, create tax cuts for the wealthy, started an illegal war (Trillion dollars spent that was not put into the federal budget), allowed business to send jobs to other countries, allowed big oil companies to make billions of dollars, allowed torture, etc........

    President Obama is trying very hard to bring us back to respectability on all fronts...He is working for all Americans. So much has been neglected that it will take time...we as Americans must support and work with our President.....that includes the Republicans who should not be looking at 2010 and 2012...they should be looking at repairing this mess that the last administration created!

    February 28, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  14. sick n tired of CNN moderators

    You want to know what the real problem with Republicans is? There to concerned with IMAGE and not concerned enough with actual SUBSTANCE! Talk, talk and more talk! No solutions or NEW ideas! But plenty of time on their hands to critisize! Its no surprise to me there the minority party! Nor should it be!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 28, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Annette Davis

    Governor Pawlenty and his party continue to show how totally out of touch they really are with the majority of the American people! Do they believe that by calling our citizens "Sam's Club Voter's" they are endearing the people to them? I have not heard of any sort of GOP plan to help America out of this terrible financial crisis. Instead, I continue to hear them wish that our President, and therefore our country, will fail! And they talk about loving America? They are in fact Anti-American! Since this past Presidential election, I have been so proud to be a citizen of this country! My husband and I are Sam's Club Member's and yes, we campaigned and voted for President Obama. We love this country! Who does the GOP love???? Certainly it is not America!

    February 28, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. petena

    That is right. REPUBLICANS are NOT for the SAMS CLUB type voter. The party is dead and are desperate.

    February 28, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  17. P. D.

    Now Repugs care about us peons? Please...

    February 28, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. mother of a soldier

    Jennifer....well said! Unfortunastely, those who do not understand economics nor looked to history to become educated on the past mistakes (yes Clinton and Carter) that brought us to this point, voted into office the absolutely worst person you could have in our current econo9mic situation. He was a "community organizer", freshman senator, no clearance on security matters and a lawyer. I pray for this country but I am very disappointed in our voting public! You should either take an IQ test or/and served this country.

    February 28, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  19. Ed

    Tim Pawlenty is about to take one of the best states and turn it into a cold Mississippi with poor schools and crumbling infrastructure just to preserve the false idea that "no new taxes" is a good idea no matter what the situation. When a politician and a political party can only come up with one solution to all problems – kind of like one size fits all clothing – it doesn't really fit anyone at all very well. Republicans need to come up with real solutions for the current problem, not just look to the past and to situations that were not at all like the current one and blindly throw out the "TAX CUTS" solution. That is not the soultion to EVERY problem, but it seems to be the only solution they have to offer.

    February 28, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. When I get the flu I take a teaspoon of Tax Cuts

    Bravo to the Republicans, they have put out so many ideas on how to fix the economy and its working GGGREEAAAT!

    Oh wait......... all they do is critcize other people's actions. But that's because they haven't taken any action at all, so it's kinda one-sided.

    Cowards all of them!

    February 28, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Pat in IL

    Yawn.....another GOP "party line puppet" who has forgotten that he is a public servant. That means to ALL Americans. If the republicans don't work intentionally to figure out what's wrong with their approach and start working for the nation as a whole, then they will continue to lose. They've already lost much respect, because now they all sound like the mindless idiots like Rush Limbaugh and S. Hannity.

    February 28, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Snowbaby

    What ever happened to the 100 day "honeymoon" previous presidents were accorded to get their house in order? The way the Republicans are coming down on Obama you'd think that he'd been in office for four years already. He's going to achieve some good things for this country while he's in office and he's going to make some mistakes. We can only hope that his achievements outweigh his mistakes. We can't afford too many errors after what the Republicans did to this country.

    February 28, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  23. shs

    What's important is "marketing" not "principles." Just trick them into thinking you care. Isn't that what the GOP has always done?

    February 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  24. Jean

    It's quite simple.

    If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, my reaction will be swift
    and simple. I fire you. I fire your co-workers. You can then plead with the
    government to pay for your mortgage, your SUV, and your child's future.
    Frankly, it isn't my problem any more.

    Then, I will close this company down, move to another country, and retire.
    You see, I'm done. I'm done with a country that penalizes the productive and
    gives to the unproductive. My motivation to work and to provide jobs will be
    destroyed, and with it, will be my citizenship.

    So, if you lose your job, it won't be at the hands of the economy; it will
    be at the hands of a political hurricane that swept through this country,
    steamrolled the constitution, and will have changed its landscape forever.
    If that happens, you can find me sitting on a beach, retired, and with no
    employees to worry about....

    Your boss

    February 28, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Deborah

    I just came from Sam's Club (honest, needed paper products) but I wouldn't vote for a Republican if my life depended on it. Stop with the stereotypes. Everyone who goes to Wal Mart/Sam's Club isn't a hick.

    February 28, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
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