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. Dumas McGee

    it's funny to me...obama is paying for my house and my car bills and he's even gonna give me a new set of teeth (yay dental bailout)

    and all you saps in the blue states that voted him in are gonna give me and all my toothless tralier park red state brethren this from YOUR taxes!

    amen and hallelujah!!! praise the Jebus and praise THE ONE!

    February 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Kim

    Here's a clue.... They don’t believe Republicans “are for the working person".... BECAUSE YOU AREN'T!

    February 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Red, North Carolina

    Jennifer 1244....Poor Obama is just trying to clean up the vomit off the floor of the White House after the GOP Frat party of the past 8 years!!! Maybe the GOP your advice about stable change taking more time before they invaded and destroyed the lives of millions of Iraqi's , especially the children who have lost their entire childhoods to the GOP War Machine mistake. If the Republicans had such GREAT ideas about making this country a better place, maybe they should have instituted them over the past 8 years and we wouldn't be where we are today.

    February 28, 2009 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Eric

    Pawlenty you are wrong. Geesh how did you get elected? Republicans aren't for working people you guys are for the rich people and corporations. Your guys don't belive helping poor people you believe in "self empowerment" the problem is poor destitute need immediate help not self empowerment-self empowerment takes a long time. I belive in helping the poor Republicans don't. Bush gave trillions of dollars to corporations and extremely rich. Obama gave tax cuts to the average person. So stop with the lies. If you guys had morals you probably would have a chance.

    February 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. Charlie in Maine

    I am a Sam's Club Voter and I have to say that the retail politics of the Republicans are about 90% off the mark as far as policy is concerned. I am also concerned about the whole-sale destruction of our prestige abroad and our economy at home. It seems as though the distributions of right-wing morons is too high and our country is paying the price.

    If they would like to compete in the marketplace of ideas they will need a larger quality supply.

    Happy Shopping America.

    February 28, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Mel of Alexandria, Virginia

    Saying what you do not mean makes no difference. The deed speaks for the party, and we see what you have done for the "Sam's Club Voters":


    February 28, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Mitchell from MS

    Man I tell you for a bunch of opened minded people liberals sure do accuse the GOP of being racist alot!

    Oh well I guess I better go back for 7 years more of college and get to more college degrees so I can be as enlightened as you all.......

    Oh and by the way I hope all of you enlighten folks caught the O'Reilly factor the other night when Bill interviewed one of the so called enlighten folks. This twit Bill was interviewing said she would never switch parties no matter how terrible the Dems got. Talk about a bunch of uneducated morons! People like you are what is wrong with this country!

    Vote for the Best person not the Party!

    February 28, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. debbie

    Sam's Club Voters are Wal-Mart customers who can afford to pony up the membership fee and buy stuff in bulk.

    Same old same old.

    Stay away from Costco voters.

    February 28, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Ryan

    Maybe if they quit referring to the demographic as "Sam's Club voters" they'd find themselves in a better position. It's the constant down-talking from Republican leaders that turns people off. None of those guys are shopping at Sam's Club, it's just a quick way to refer to people with less money than themselves.

    February 28, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Nancy

    I have been watching the Conservative Political Action Conference and I don't know what happened to the Republican Party. I heard Gov. Pawlenty's speech and I was astounded. If this is how they plan to become the "inclusive Republican Party", they just don't get it. The gushing over Rush Limbaugh is unbelievable and don't forget Ann Coulter. I can't believe they are giving Rush this award at this conference. Maybe it will be Rush/Coulter in 2012. They have not only become the party of "no ideas", but the party of "many lies." I belonged to the Republican party for almost 30 years. Never again. I have not heard one speaker talk about "solutions" , just how bad the Obama administration is. SAD COMMENTARY.

    February 28, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  11. Red, North Carolina

    Hammer...sorry, ALL of the Obama supporters I know are Ivy League educated business owners or professionals who are supporting all of the RED states in the middle of the country to provide ZERO in the way of innovation or revenue / tax producing products. The GOP supporters who scream *Socialist* every time they get a chance should take a look in the mirror! Like it or not...California with the Silicon Valley in the N and the entertainment industry in the S provides the lion share of FEDERAL TAX REVENUE to support the rest of this so called Union and all of you in the middle of nowhere who never produce much of anything to forward out country in the world.

    February 28, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  12. Johnny V

    There's two kinds of Republicans:

    Rich people.

    And suckers.

    February 28, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. WOW

    What a horrible image of Americans these tickers present to the rest of the world.

    Thanks, CNN, for making it all possible!

    February 28, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. SMJ

    Hammer...you are an idiot. I am a Republican who voted for Obama. I have a graduate degree and I pay my bills and mortgage. I don't expect ANYTHING to be given to me. My father served in the Navy for 20 years, I have a great respect for this country which you obviously do not. I contact my Congressmen when I have concerns, but to call to "go to the streets" just shows how anit-American you are. You sound like a member of the KKK! If you're not part of the solution to the problem, then YOU ARE the problem.

    February 28, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. Carol

    So the GOP wants to get the votes of the "Sam's Club" crowd without sacrificing their principles. That will be hard to do considering their principles include. "Give the breaks to business interests " To hell with the common working man. Yep tax cuts for business's and the wealthy. Let's not forget their war on Homosexuals and Abortions.
    God does work in mysterious ways. He kicked their hypocritical butts two elections in a row. And God willing I'll help him do it again for creating this mess we are in!

    February 28, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Dace Tucson AZ

    This is one of the few white hood boys with a brain – but he better run all plans by the obese drug addict radio grand wizard. Or hasn't he received the talking points about the new heard of the party fat diaper boy rush?

    February 28, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. B.H.

    Lets face it folks, the GOP just does not understand the real change that the country now faces: an EMERGENCY! They are still clinging to a system that did NOT work for Americans the last eight years.
    Financial Darwinism is not good for anyone but the top one percent of the wealthy. They still can just NOT GET IT......
    Just like the car companies that made BAD choices, the banks have done the same, and the government should take them over and install NEW MANAGEMENT and then start anew. The market is not supposed to support failure!

    Obama, Throw the BUMS out!

    February 28, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. AnIndependent

    So Pawlenty wants to market the GOP to the ordinary people! Like the people who are out of work in Louisiana that Jindal and the GOP are rejecting by turning down the unemployment benefits? What a bunch of total hypocrites. Just go away GOP and let a more relevant party take your place.

    February 28, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. hitobito

    Where was the disinguous Gov. Tim Pawlenty when Bush was handing out unregulated TARP funds so banks could pay themselves huge bonuses? Where was he was the Bush Administration failed to balance a single federal budget in eight years after inheriting a budget surplus from the Clinton Administration? I hope this dope runs against Obama, he'll get eaten alive. Republicans call themselves fiscal conservatives. This is the grossest misnomer in history. I was a conservative Republican for most of my life and I am now a fiscal conservative blue dog Democrat. I object to bailing out any company whose business model is so flawed that they cannot execute a worst case scenario business plan. GM's business model is flawed and they should be sold off in pieces. They still build one of the finest sports cars in the world, the Corvette ZR1. (and surprise, surprise...they can sell every ZR1 they produce!)

    February 28, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Mitchell from MS

    @ Republican Hater

    I am white but I am certainly not rich and I don't hate anyone.... I guess your sterotype of republicans isn't true. As a matter of fact the only posts that I have seen that are hateful here are from DEMS like you.

    February 28, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. Independent_me

    These people are so lost... they don't realize that the average American does not buy into their crazy, off the hook, extremist philosophy.

    They were quite clever at wrapping up their nazi philosophy in the American flag, family values and morality – but their efforts to separate and divide the country revealed that they do not really love this country.

    They labeled you "unpatriotic" if you did not agree with them. They labeled you "godless" if you did not agree with them. You are not a "real American" if you do not agree with them. This kind of Taliban thinking will destroy America because a house divided cannot stand.

    February 28, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  22. Ron

    Hey!!! I am a member of Sam's Club and last time I was in the store I didn't see a "typical Sam's Club Member who holds sacrosanct the Republican Conservative hypocritical BS" that Pawlenty and the rest of his ilk are spewing. Jeez Republicans....can't you losers come up with one respectable idea which might HELP OUT our country and the people who are being decimated by this recession. Here's a thought for all you idiots...you lost the election!!!! You lost because the voters rejected your supposed ideology. Spend a little time thinking before you continue to run your mouths shouting out the same old tired crap you've been espousing for years!!!

    February 28, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Bridg

    Pawlenty will first have the wash the blood of those who died on that fallen bridge from his hands before he can run for president. Just another GOP doofus.

    February 28, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. Maggie from Virginia

    I'm listening to the republican message and all I hear is going back to something: "We will go back to conservative values/principles". Where are the ideas for the current situation? How will you govern any different than the past?

    The Democrats on the other hand, are proposing big ideas on how to bring America into the 21st Century by updating the outdated way of governing. They are talking about education, health care, and reducing our dependence on oil. Giving tax relief to the majority of working Americans. This is what I like to hear.

    Times have changed. You are either for the American People or you are Out of Power. Nothing will stop this movement.

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

    A good first step for the GOP would be to STOP LABELING WORKING AMERICANS with these one dimensional tags. We have names and we have jobs and we have families and we have so many ethnicities and combined ethnicities that to keep thinking one label will make us think you are "with us" or if it makes you think you understand us, you will remain out of touch and obsolete.
    Impress me – put some time in at the mission or do some of that community organizing that seems to petty to you. How about doing something to help all of those single mothers that do not choose abortion but then find that conservatives want to bash them for being unwed?

    February 28, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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