July 28th, 2009
05:00 PM ET
12 years ago

Pawlenty wades into national issue, takes swipe at potential rival

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.pawlenty.gi.jpg caption="Pawlenty is wading into the national health care debate."](CNN) - One day after assuming a leadership post in the Republican Governor's Association, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is staking his opposition to the congressional Democrats' health care reform plan while taking an indirect swipe at a potential future presidential rival.

In a letter to the entire Minnesota congressional delegation, Pawlenty urges the three Republicans and seven Democrats to vote against the measure in its current form, saying the plan won't contain health care costs or improve quality of care.

"Focusing only on access while neglecting cost and quality would be a dramatic mistake," Pawlenty said in the three-page letter. He added that the legislation "levies a huge new tax structure on an economy that is already struggling with the worst recession since World War II."

"The proposed tax increases do not come close to paying for the proposal, and assertions that the remaining costs will be covered by unspecified 'reductions in waste, fraud, and abuse' are simply not reliable," the Minnesota Republican also wrote.

Pawlenty, widely believed to be considering a run for president in 2012, also sharply criticized the health care plan enacted in Massachusetts three years ago under then-Gov. Mitt Romney, also widely considered a future White House hopeful.

Equating the congressional Democrats' plan to the Massachusetts program, Pawlenty said the latter has succeeded in expanding the ranks of the insured but has raked up much higher than expected costs in the process and resulted in higher taxes and fees.

"That state's experience should caution Congress against this approach," Pawlenty wrote.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom disputed Pawlenty's contention. "The Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation recently reported that the cost to taxpayers of achieving near-universal coverage has been relatively modest and well within initial projections of how much the state would have to spend," he said in an e-mail.

Last month, Pawlenty raised speculation he is considering a presidential bid when he announced he would not seek a third gubernatorial term in 2010. The 2012 talk has only increased as other potential GOP candidates have been sidelined by scandals or embarrassing missteps.

The Minnesota Republican is also set to address GOP leaders and activists at the party's summer meeting in San Diego later this week.

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Larry

    The problem with Republicans is that they've become pathological liars.

    Guess they'll be missing all that special interest money when they're out of office.

    July 28, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. phoenix86

    Why are we continuing to discuss this proposal. It should be abandoned now. Obama's plan for healthcare proposes:

    1. Ratio healthcare based on expected life and illness
    2. Penalize doctors and hospitals for providing services outside those approved by the plan;
    3. Mandates a reduction in future medical research and development as a way to control costs;
    4. Mandates counseling every 5 years beginning at age 65 on "how to decline hydration and nutrition and prepare for hospice" (i.e. accelerate death).

    All these are IN THE OBAMA plan. Read it and you will see, then call your representative and tell them that if they vote for it then they have to live with it too.

    July 28, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. YouTube is a Mother

    Yes ... let us thinking voters write down .... for use against financial genius Romney ... the current bankrupt state of the health care reform plan that HE, just months ago, was BRAGGING about in Massachusetts.

    July 28, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Zero.

    No....... No....... They picked up on what I said. Toyota. How many Plastic Parts are in Japanese cars??? They will sell you anything...

    July 28, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Four and The Door

    Well stated opposition to ObamaCare! Access without regard for cost or quality. I doubt that Americans are really going to be happy with healthcare that could cost you an arm and a leg in more ways than one!

    July 28, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  6. w.l. jones

    Give up State taxpayer health cover plan for elector officers therby even the playing field in heath care.

    July 28, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. Liberal and Proud of It dot com

    The Conservative strategy to regain power is to prevent the Obama Administration from solving – or even trying to solve – any of the nation's problems. They will oppose, block, stall, prevent, deny, exaggerate, minimize, obfuscate, falsify, and eviscerate any Obama program.

    This will mean, of course, that middle class families will suffer as their nation's government fails, but that is just collateral damage to Conservatives.

    By "Conservatives" I mean the Conservative leadership.
    I do not mean ordinary voters who vote Republican. They are just suckers and dupes who believe their leaders - con men in thousand dollar suits - actually intend to do any of the things they promise. They had the Congress and the Presidency for six years. Did we get a balanced budget, smaller government, a gay marriage amendment, term limits, privatised social security, or anything else they promised to the hayseeds? I rest my case.

    July 28, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. bozo the obama

    i want the same health care the feurher has

    July 28, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. Mitch

    Considering Bachman is a complete nut job, he knows she'll vote his way...

    July 28, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |