June 28th, 2009
11:32 AM ET
13 years ago

'Quit spending,' Pawlenty tells Obama

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Minnesota’s Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty took aim Sunday at the high price tag for President Obama’s ambitious plans to reform the nation’s health care system.

“The president said not long ago in an interview, quote-unquote, we are out of money,” Pawlenty told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King when asked whether the country could afford health care reform right now. “With all due respect Mr. President, if we’re out of money, quit spending it,” Pawlenty added.

“And, so no, we can’t afford it. This is a nation that has got a debt load and a deficit load that is unsustainable. We’re going to have, in my view, the federal government debt crisis equivalent of the mortgage crisis within 20 years.”

Pawlenty also said that he didn’t think the new administration was serious about addressing federal spending, notwithstanding the president’s recent emphasis on cleaning up the federal government’s fiscal situation.

The Republican also slammed a proposal favored by some Democrats for a public health insurance option as part of health care reform legislation.

“If you want to extend access, to people who are in need or at disadvantage, then give them some help directly – in the form of a voucher, in the form of a tax credit. And then give them good information about price and quality. And, at least for those who can function in the marketplace, let them go do that. That’s how you assist people in need who can’t afford health care.”

The public option contemplated by some Democrats is “another example of the partial … nationalization of an industry,” Pawlenty said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Not unlike in the mortgage industry, the banking industry, the auto industry, now the health care industry. Soon you’ll see that in the energy industry. This is a pattern with this administration of government encroaching into the private market.” Pawlenty said.

soundoff (185 Responses)
  1. Dennis

    Perhaps this dude needs to go off somewhere quiet to get his thoughts together on this issue. He could, for example, go and hike the Appalachian trial to Buenes Aires? Maybe he'll realize that it really doesn't fit with his Evangelical Christian facade to do everything he can to deny health care and a good life to people who aren't part of his $ocial network.

    June 28, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. David in Houston

    Not surprising coming from one of the largest recipients of the health industry's lobbying efforts...

    June 28, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. Denna

    Where was this "fiscal conservative" when W was spending like a drunken sailor? Why didn't he insist that W put the cost of the war on the books so that America could see it all? Why didn't he interfere when W first created the stimulus package for the banks? Why Pawlenty, why? Because W was one of your own. All of a sudden you are concerned because you and your G"NO"P buddies don't have control. President Obama isn't so much trying to spend his way out of this mess as he is dealing with the reality that doing nothing will only worsen things. For those of you who are so 'concerned' that we are leaving a debt to our children and grandchildren: where were your concerns when W was running up this massive debt that WE now have to deal with? Oh, I get it. It is okay for a Republican president to make a mess but it isn't okay for a Democratic president to try to undo the mess. Please people get real. If you have a better idea, let's hear it Pawlenty. By-the-by, tax breaks for the rich are not going to help the rest of us. Next idea? Anything? (sound of crickets)

    June 28, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Andi

    TCM – I noticed the latest 'proving ground' fro the GOP is now Ohio. Maybe you should go have a 'Tea Party' there. The Tea Parties accomplished a good deal, didn't they? Really had a huge effect on the nation........you and your buds are really good at helping the nation climb out of these messes we are in. I'd thank you but my head would explode from sarcasm.

    June 28, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. ex-republican

    You are the biggest idiot, not the President!
    Got it?

    June 28, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. Aaron

    Wake up, America! Most of the world has universal health care, and it works! Look at Canada!

    I'm an unemployed new engineering grad and you know what DOESN'T scare me? The fact I can't pay my provincial medical premiums. Because if I walk into an ER, they would never turn me away. I wouldn't receive a bill, either.

    Bite the bullet. Pay now, so that you can have a consistently healthy population. Yes, it's expensive. Yes, it's a "Socialist" idea. So what? Get off your high horse and realize the system you have right now is a pile of crap. Just because you're the United States doesn't mean your idea is the right one.

    June 28, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  7. RUFF!!!

    @Donkey Party June 28th, 2009 11:54 am ET
    Where is all the phoney outrage over the MASSIVE Bush spending years????? HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!***Good Response!!!!

    June 28, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  8. Michael, AL

    Governor, if this economy wasn't in shambles, he wouldn't have to spend as much as he has to. And another thing, are you talking about domestic spending or defense spending? If you're only talking about domestic spending, that smells like pure hypocrisy.

    June 28, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  9. Mike

    He can't stop spending, he has one war that was a complete lie to the taxpayer that we have to continue to pay for!!

    June 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  10. Marilyn, Powell Ohio

    Where was this mealy mouth twerp when Bush and Company were minding the store? And, none of these big mouths will say Sanford should step down – not because he had an affair but because he took off and left his state without leadership. If this were a Democrat they would be tared and feathered! How many ways can we say hypocrites?????

    June 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. RUFF!!!

    RUFF!!! June 28th, 2009 12:42 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    @Donkey Party June 28th, 2009 11:54 am ET
    Where is all the phoney outrage over the MASSIVE Bush spending years????? HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!!!***Good Response!!!!
    John King should Join FOX NEWS!!!!

    June 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. Sue

    Yeah, the private sector has done a standup job for the American people – the rich Americans! I believe if Obama said lets do nothing with Health Care the repubs would go – WHAT IS HE THINKING, what we have going on now isn't working!

    The party of NO = Republican Party!

    June 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  13. nri

    This dude also needs to get his thoughts straight. May be he can take Sarah Palin with him. Where were these conservatives when Bush was wasting billions of dollars on his pet projects like Iraq?

    June 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  14. James

    I mean, I get it, but why does the GOP and its cohorts think the American public is this stupid to believe they are now somehow the gate keepers to fiscal responsibility? Who are they trying to fool?

    June 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. When will common Sense Take over

    Democrats / Republicans and all you polical supporters need to quit living in the past. I think we need a new party called the economist party. Our country is going broke and we don't know what we are going to produce in the future to fuel GROWTH. A strong economy can pay for any healthcare program. Lets get folks back to work so they can pay taxes to fix the many problems we have in this country rising Healthcare, Energy, Education costs. The list is endless.

    June 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Michelle H

    You are correct Sheila! While everybody was consumed with the death of Michael Jackson, Pelosi and the democrats slammed this huge spending bill they called energy down our throats. And let me tell you-if the folks in the Senate don't stop this-all of you Obama lovers are going to be pissing and whining 3 years from now and blaming the Republicans for your skyrocketing energy costs. You have nobody to blame but yourselves for falling for this pile of crap that Obama is driving this country into.
    And guess what, I am either "left" or "right". I know what looks "wrong" to me and this presidents policies are taking us in a very wrong direction.
    But I do have to side with him in this whole Iran thing-because right now with all the pee whining coming from that guy over there- he just makes himself look stupid over there. And it is a shame because I believe the people of Iran know it and that is what they were protesting against....

    June 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. J. L. W.

    Pawlenty is correct. The Obama administration and democratic liberals
    are moving the country into a socialized state. The press and American people better wake up before we have an army of bureaucrats trying to run the country and involved in everyones personal life.

    Other countries have tried this and failed.

    June 28, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. Jim from MN

    First of all Gov. Pawlenty, the information there is on price and quality isn't all that good. Second, health care is a very heterogenous good. It's not like health care is produced on a factory line and we just look to see which has the fewest defects. Third, the Republicans still have never answered how tax credits for purchasing insurance will help someone who can't afford the insurance in the first place.Fifth, the health industry has more market failures then any other industry in the economy. What that means is that the free market with complete absence of government intervention will produce very inefficient results. The free market is far from perfect and it is the least perfect in the health industry.

    Sixth, I'm disappointed I won't get the opportunity to vote you out.

    June 28, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  19. BeefMasterX

    Stupid posters. Wow.
    Obama is Bush.
    Who will be in the white house in '12? It won't be the timid, spineless, uneducated lawyer from hawaii.

    June 28, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  20. Brad

    So let me get this straight. Massive spending for military operations that consequently contributed to the current economic problem... okay. Targetted domestic spending to try and rebuild the economy... not okay?

    For those criticizing, remember that McCain's economic plans would have cost more than Obama's.

    If anyone has a realistic solution. Put it on the table, oh wait... no one does. So put up or shut up.

    June 28, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  21. Brad, California

    Yeah, yeah. Keep talking just to keep YOUR lamea$$ name in the news. You speak with the same level of believability as the South Carolina governor and the Nevada senator. Both of them will be out soon. Americans are smart enough to know that you and your complaints mean less then nothing. I'm just hoping to find out what YOU'VE got hidden in the closet, because then you'll come crashing down too.

    June 28, 2009 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  22. Jane

    Keep on whining there T-Paw! The way you've managed the Minnesota Economy is nothing to be bragging about either. I'm so glad you decided not to run again – Oh wait – that's right you narrowly won the last election – can't take that chance again, can you!

    June 28, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Susan

    Who watches this Fox News agent (King) on CNN?

    June 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  24. matt

    Donkey Party glad to see you back so.... what has Obama done lately I'm still trying to figure out that I mean with Iran and your buddy Chevez saying well US is a threat and North Korea threatens to wipe us off the map but everybody says oh well wipe Alaska off the map well all roads leads to alaska but everybody seems to be so concerned about michael jackson

    June 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Jean in IN

    In the world of investment, one must spend money to make money. Where was Gov. Pawlenty when the Bush administration was wasting money on an unnecessary war? It appears that Pawlenty has the interest of the wealthy at heart. The real argument that the Republicans have is that they will be unable to visit their doctor for fear of overcrowded patients. Why is their health and wealth more important than those less fortunate? How inhumane is that logic? We are all created equal in the eyes of God. How dare these rich Republicans think that the poor should be treated unequally? They have a similar philosophy to the dictators of Iran. Only they are pretending to be concerned politicians. (Wolves in Sheep Clothing).

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