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. AQ

    @ Ren from Baltimore –

    put down the crack pipe –

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. NS

    Just one more example of the spoiled little boy syndrome in Washington. The childish behavior and attitude of many of these Congressmen certainly doesn't give anyone confidence in their decisions which should be based on mature and thoughtful consideration of what is best for the American people and not what is best for their party. Although I am very unhappy with the Republicans in Washington, many of the Democrats should be ostracized also. Obama has been President for 9 months. What is it that these idiots think he could accomplish in that time, particularly with many of them opposing him on everything he tries to do. It took 8 years to get us into this condition and they – and many of the American people think it can be fixed overnight. Give me a break!

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Jim

    Socialistic doctrine, man you neo-cons still sound like a broken record, and none of you can define Socialism – here's a clue – it's NOT a type of government.

    Instead of cpmplaining come up with answers.

    Besides, Timmy isn't running for Governor again because he knows he can't win, with his numbers so low right now and he's losing ground daily, he really thinks he has a shot at running for President in 2012.

    Conservatism doesn't work, it has no ideas that work, the last 8 1/2 years proved that.

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  4. Anthony In Miami

    Governor Pawlenty: The past Republican Presidents conducted the same sort of discussion and actually promoted their political views in the process. Where is you stance of supporting education and not crossing the line. So let me get this straight: two white Republican Presidents conduct a presentation to urge students to complete their education and openly discuss their political views and it's accepted without question.
    A black President speaks to kids about the importance of education and going to college and it becomes a national tragedy! What is wrong with people! Two standards! That's what this world is coming to. And the people screaming, take to the streets should really be careful! There are some sleeping giants out there. Are you sure you want to awaken them. We're headed for the biggest racial clash since the civil rights act in the 60's. Not for any other reason than the blatant racist attitudes of people who continually shove crap down people's throats and expect only their side to matter. All this "I want my America back!" Code for: I can't stand the fact that we have a Black President. But ask yourself a question Pawlenty, do you really want to wake up that sleeping giant. Comments like these will!

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. Georgette

    Given this moron Pawlenty and the babbling idiot Rep. Bachmann up there, I'd say there are more reasons to stay away from Minnesota than its snowy cold winters.

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. snowball

    As a resident of Minnesota, I am particularly outraged that Pawlenty has the audacity to question the right of the President of the United States to speak to school children!!! He's obviously forgotten (or never knew) that Reagan and the First Bush both spoke to children on the first day of school.

    Pawlenty has left our state in shambles. He's obstructive and absolutely against any compromise or bi-partisan approach to issues confronting our state. We are all anxiously awaiting the end of his term. He is absoluttely unqualified to be president , to hold any other public office or to represent the public in any capacity.

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Bayousara

    A quick note to Darko. Appropriate name, I should say.

    I am a recipient of government funds called "SOCIAL security" and also "Medicare." Two of the best government programs ever!

    I hope in the name of all that is good that you will NEVER accept either of those programs! To do so makes you a hypocrite in the first degree.

    You never even heard the word "socialist" until the right wingers brought it up–their latest buzz word....they don't even know what it means!

    September 4, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  8. Ryan

    I see no reason why Republicans have an issue with this. This is our President people. The leader of our country. He is a smart man who would like to set an exemple to the nations children.

    This issue, the health care issue, and the birthers have led me to question what is wrong with the people of our nation. Do we not want to be healthier as a nation? Do we not respect what our leaders have to say? Are people as crazy as they seem to be?

    As for Pawlenty, I am from Minnesota and I am glad he is no longer going to be our Gov. He is just going against everything The White House says. If I had one thing to say to him it would be' Be part of the solution not the problem'. He is not original.

    Good Luck America

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. rapotat

    Yep, asking children to stay in school and try to excel is truly a socialist agenda, isn't it?

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Irma in North Carolina

    Why is it that these republicans have to constantly open their mouth, are they all trying to follow Sarah. It would not be so bad if they had something important to say. Why dont you all go to Arizona and join the baptist minister down there. I bet there were children at that service when he preached his sermon.

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Laura

    Now the President of the United States can't talk to schoolchildren without being portrayed as some kind of evil genie. It's OK though for out-of-control celebrity types to exert their influence on our youth without challenge. President Obama is a living lesson to children of what you can become if you study and work hard in your life–despite humble beginnings. I don't think he plans to sign them up for the Democratic Party. I am also getting find up with the viscious and mean-spirited comments that are coming from both sides of the political spectrum. That sets a great example for our kids too! Freedom is what we are all about but let's try to be civil about it.

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  12. Bushed

    Where do they come up with this stuff??? If it wasnt so sad for us as country, it would be absolutely entertaining. The Republican party is out to discredit the President at any an all costs...

    Its sad that the highest office in the land cant address kids about staying in school without creating calls of indoctrination. what a bunch of c*ap.

    I dont remember hearing from these people when Reagan or Bush where speaking to school kids. Reagan even injected gun control politics into his speach. but since the wingnuts support that, its ok!

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. Minnesotan

    The people mad about the President daring to "indoctrinate" their children are the people who said nothing when Ronald Reagan talked favorably about tax cuts to schoolkids, when George Bush sat in a classroom on 9/11, and when they waged a campaign to put PRAYER in American schools. It's OK, then, to indoctrinate your children to almighty God, but not for them to hear a speech about hard work from the elected President of the United States. Conservatives have waged war on respect.

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  14. Tom B

    Darko – since when are "study hard and stay in school" socialist doctrines as you call them? Please take a dose of reality... You may hate Obama, but your comments are ridiculous and you should be ashamed of yourself.

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  15. Finny

    "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, TURN OFF THEIR TV. I don't think he needs to force it upon the nation's school children,"
    He would have gotten away with that just as well!

    September 4, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. siz

    Just when u think republicans cant do anything more foolish, they do!!

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. victim of republican greed

    Once again, Tim (all suit, no substance) Pawlenty weighs in on something he is clueless about. Minnesota must be doing cartwheels that this moron will not run for another term.

    Tim is right about the republicans starting to stand up for Americans as they have done no such thing in the last 8 years. It is a sad day when Tim puts his political ambitions ahead of the country.

    What part of "work hard and stay in school," is a socialist ideology?

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. You guys are ridiculous

    It isn't socialist indoctrination in an hour long speech encouraging kids to get educated. He is trying to engage children to take an active role in the educational and political process. Giving speeches to the children of America is something every President HAS DONE, but somehow now, it is different.

    You people really need to pace yourselves. No way you can keep up this level of PETTY for EIGHT years.

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Marc from San Diego

    I didn't hear anything from the Right when Bush was reading "My Pet Goat" to school children as our country was BEING ATTACKED. Right wing hypocrocy at it's best, stop the nonsense.

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. S M R

    This is the same CLOWN who backed the Bush Policies 100% of the time and He thinks we should listen to Him? I THINK NOT

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Gwen Lloyd

    CNN would you please remind these reps. that we have had TWO other President of the REPUBLICAN PARTY TALK to our children and NOT once did the Democrats use this type of TRICKS or mind GAMES.....

    Same OLD tricks and scare that is known to come from the Republicans who have always USED this type of plans. Especially from those whom been in the Senate for years and until now feel they can use what ever Obama is trying to do for the American people to further their POLITIC agenda.

    Is what they do REALLY for the people or for themselves......SHAME on them, their party and most of all the future of our Country.....

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  22. EJ

    Claiming it's socialism is clear sign of ignorance. What's the world coming to if our own president (recently elected by getting more votes then Mr. Pawlenty's party you may recall) cannot address a group of children? This is simply Republicans playing politics by trying to portray Obama as playing politics. Yet another display hypocracy by the Republican party.

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  23. John in FL

    Pawlenty is making this just about politics. So what if the President speaks to school children. Our children should be exposed to all points of view and then we as parents can help them form their own opinions, constructively. I do agree that the Department of Education was in the wrong and no my child will not be writing a letter to the President to see what he could do to help the President. The President has enough help. But yes my child will be watching, as will I. All this from a life long Republican that did not and will never vote for Obama.

    September 4, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  24. Bobby

    Obama demoralizes his base with huge compromises to get one republican vote while invigorating the opposition by being so weak. He is setting the democratic party up for a tsunami like lose in 2010 that will make 1994 look like a leaky faucet.

    September 4, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  25. Monty B.

    I normally like Pawlenty, but he's WAAAY off-base here.

    This speech isn't going to be socialist indoctrination. It's not propaganda. It's a Presidential address kids. He's not just the president of adults...or workers...he's the President of EVERYONE in the country.

    The better question is-what harm comes from this? What's the problem with the most powerful man in the free world taking a few minutes to inspire school kids? He's not going to be pushing any agenda-just telling them to work hard. Is that bad?

    September 4, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
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