September 4th, 2009
03:11 PM ET
11 years ago

Pawlently takes aim at Obama's address to students

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized President Obama's scheduled address to public school children.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty criticized President Obama's scheduled address to public school children.

(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is adding his voice to the growing conservative chorus criticizing President Obama's scheduled address to public school children next week.

Pawlenty, who since announcing he was not seeking a third term as governor earlier this summer has stepped up his criticism of the president, said Friday the classroom is no place to show a video address from Obama.

"At a minimum it's disruptive, number two, it's uninvited and number three, if people would like to hear his message they can, on a voluntary basis, go to YouTube or some other source and get it. I don't think he needs to force it upon the nation's school children," he told reporters at the Minnesota State fair.

The governor also objected to the Department of Education's initial encouragement of school children to write the president with their thoughts on what they can do to help him. Amid criticism, the proposal was dropped.

"There are going to be questions about - well, what are they are going to do with those names and is that for the purpose of a mailing list?" Pawlenty said.

The Democratic National Committee called the comments 'outrageous.'

Pawlenty's remarks are the latest in a series of critical comments the governor has directed at Obama over the last few months, as he begins to take a more visible role in his party in advance of a possible White House bid.

"It is time we stand up to President Obama," Pawlenty said to members of the Republican National Committee last month, one of several speaking engagements at GOP and conservative-backed events. "It is time we stand up for our principles, and it is time we stand up for the American people."

Last month, Pawlenty was also keynote speaker at a major dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Florida. In July, he addressed top party members at a Republican National Committee conference in San Diego. Next month, the governor heads back to California, as a featured speaker at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, thought to be another potential White House hopeful, issues a more measured statement to Obama's planned address.

"If the president wants to encourage students to stay in school and study, that's appropriate," he said. "However, he should be careful not to cross the line to discuss political issues or policy matters."

Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Darko

    Addressing students is one thing... injecting your doctrine is another. Our public schools have enough socialist indoctrination as it is.

    September 4, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. John

    I thought this guy was different from his other republican buddies. I guess I was wrong.

    September 4, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Ren from Baltimore

    "President" Obama uses bathroom at back of White House-his DNA refuses to let him use the front one. AND {President" Obama drives on the _right_ side of the road-what a hypocrite!

    "President" Obama uses country's valuable time to say ?Have a Safe Holiday" as if he were king! KING?!?!!

    Don't let him move!

    September 4, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. J.P.

    Robert Gibbs says those who oppose Obama's speech are "wingnuts," and I agree with him... only if by "wingnut" he means "those who paid attention in history class."

    "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'"
    – Adolf Hitler

    September 4, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. ice cream

    Oh no, did Obie cause death to students? If not, dont worry. It's not as bad as invading a country to save greed.

    September 4, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. Darren, South Florida

    Excuse me, really its inappropriate, disruptive, and intrusive for the President of the United States to address school children? Oh, and in regards to some saying this is the first time a President has done this, wrong.

    George Bush Sr. did the same thing during his Presidency when he addressed school children nationally in 1991.

    Ronald Reagan also took questions from high school students at the White House in 1986, and the question-and-answer session was broadcast nationally.

    So it seems to me that this is more partisan BS. It was fine back when Reagan and Bush did it but not when Obama does it.

    September 4, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |

    Which would you rather see your child listening to ...... the President or some drug dealer hanging out in the halls. The truth of the matter is once you drop your child off at school, you can only pray that what you've taught them at home filters over into their everyday life.

    This criticism is absolutely outrageous! We have other issues that we should be focused on than this.

    September 4, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Dennis

    I find it humorous that the GOP is against this speech and feels that it is "indoctrinating" our youth but that most in the GOP support teaching creationism in the schools. Isn't that also "indoctrinating" our kids from a very narrow, religious point of view? Ahhh, the hypocracy...

    September 4, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. James Carpenter

    It is so sad that politics has become so partisan and bitter that a speech by our president to our children to encourage hard work and staying in school would generate such a vile and bitter response. Shame on us Americans.

    September 4, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. EC

    Where was Pawlenty when President Bush did the same thing?

    C'mon Timmy, give it a rest.

    September 4, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  11. Rob Mack

    These righties are NUTS!!!!

    September 4, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  12. mb

    I keep hoping that the Republican party would stop the stupidness but I guess this is just hoping in vain.

    September 4, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  13. SeaBri

    Why can't a President tell scholl children to study hard and stay in school? I don't get it. America has become an annoying country.

    September 4, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. tjl

    We won't be talking about this loser in a few months. He can't even get 10 percent of rethuglican support. He's a nobody.

    September 4, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. S Callahan New York

    it really irks me when a person is lumped together and critized for questioning motives of this administration. I am glad they have reworded the questions they are asking the children because the initial questions were just not appropriate and I was personally peeved which takes alot.
    Why even do a 'school' conversation? The national media has been available for the bull talk (this way , from my view, parents and their children can watch it together, and monitor content).

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Monica

    Are you serious??? An address by our President isn't relevant?? Arent these the same students that we want to get involved in our nations political discussions..that held mock elections, debates etc before last years election? This political back biting has got to stop!! The only problem the conservatives have with this is that he is a Democrat...that's it..that's the only reason. Any other reason given is just a smoke screen.

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. jeanne021556

    It's ridiculous that Republicans can be such bigots. I'm glad NOT to be part of that political party.

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. th

    Pawlenty should go dig a hole and stick his head in it. He has done nothing for the State of Minnesota to help anyone but his allies. The state is in shambles, and for him to talk about what should be shown or taught in schools is pretty hilarious. He took funding away from schools. Pawlenty needs to go back into the hole that he came from.

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. JJ

    A President of a country gives a message to the school children of a country to be better students...what am I missing? Is the GOP that paranoid?

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Alex

    Haha if you were president you would speak to the children too Pawlenty. CNN, nice spelling error in the title.

    Republicans = Hypocrites

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. thanks, but no thanks

    How bitter can they be? In 2004 an old lady at ex-president Bush's town hall meeting ask what can she do to help the president? No cries then. If the message is stay in school and learn, repugs say hell no. Maybe, you would like to grow ignorant children so they can vote for you guys. What a bunch of cry babies..

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. Hannah

    You know I would like to see something positive from the Republicans, but I sure don't see it. Instead of helping to get this country back on track all they can do is try to tear down the Obama presidency down which will in fact further tear down the country. Talk about unpatriotic. Several presidents have in the past spoken to school children, Reagan and bush 1 and the Dems didn't deigrate them for doing so. And telling school children to stay in school and succeed is a bad thing? These people are indeed whacko. I used to be a Republican but never again.

    September 4, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. Jim

    Is there nothing that Republicans won't turn into feigned outrage? They don't mind that Britney Spears gets to talk to their children, but don't let the President of the United States encourage them to work hard in school!

    September 4, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. tiniolives

    I think making it mandatory for children to listen to the president in as classroom setting when it does not pertain to national security or a national crisis should not be allowed, especially when the parents do not know the content of the speech, if after the speech the parents like what they heard, or parts of it, then they can present them to their children.

    September 4, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    You conservatives need to stop all your bigotry, and settle down! President Obama is our President and you need to accept that! All you haters

    September 4, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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