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

Pawlently takes aim at Obama's address to students

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="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. RedSoxCyr

    This is disgusting....

    The GOP has lost its moral compass.

    What is happening with this party borders on treason.

    The lies, the hatred, the disrespect.

    How does one abolish a party?

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. jenny

    Oh good grief!! Haven't we got much bigger fish ti fry with the economy and healthcare issues? He is the President. Leave it up to the schools to decide when, where and how to use the speech so it will not interfere with the normal school day.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. ADO

    What is this all about?
    Every other president has given messages to and met with students.
    Why is is suddenly inappropriate for "this" president to talk with students? This is just foolishness. Gov. Pawlenty should take a long hard look within himself and discover what his real issue is with President obama

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Jason

    For crying out loud, Obama is the elected President. What better way to engage children in old-fashioned civics that for them to watch the President talk to them? Does Pawlenty also think it unnecessary to "force" reading, writing, and arithmetic upon the nation's school children?

    These right-wingers need to stop ascribing sinister motives to everything the President does; either that or get some pychotherapy.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Sunny

    A mailing list? Of schoolkids' names? All perspective has finally been lost. Other sitting presidents have given speeches to schoolchildren with nary a peep – Reagan even mentioned his tax cuts in one of his. President Obama could give a speech about how kittens are cute and far-right Republicans would look for a reason – any reason, even fictional – to screech. I've asked parents who decry this speech what exactly they don't like about it. Overwhelmingly I hear "he's indoctrinating our kids!" Um – as in "education = good"? Ooooh. Scary. The funniest, though, is those who cry foul at taking away 20 minutes of educational time and are pulling their kids out of school for the entire day.

    I cannot believe that of all people, Mitt Romney has not joined the fray. He's earned back a modicum of my respect.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. Malcolm

    another example of the 'no' party doing anything to might help this country out make it worse for the poor and make their buddies richer!

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. Dave B

    The Republican party is on head long race to the bottom. Pawlenty has joined the list of its prominent fools.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. Eli Gio

    The republicans are plain stupid!... Or, is it that they are in a complete madness?!...

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  9. jack

    another republican racist, bigot, a--le, sorry. i am so sick of these folks, they are corrupting amerika, they are big bussiness. check out jim greer's web-site if you want to get sick.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Mike

    Now that they're no longer in power, the Republicans are worse than when they were. A most dispciable group of people.

    September 4, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. JR

    Pawlenty, now there 's a voice I don't need to hear. It's both shameful and despicable that the neo-cons have made such a circus out of nothing. America becomes less a great nation everyday because of 25% that think they should be in control of everyone's life.

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Fed up Monority

    This is ridiculous.......and becoming clearly a racial thing. The Bushes spoke to school children without outrage. Why can't this intelligent black man?..............Stop the hate

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. weneedachange

    What in the He!! is wrong with people like this? These people are so unhappy that their person lost the race that they would cut their own children's throats to make President Obama look bad. Get over it. This smart black man wrong! Get the hell over it you FOOLS!

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Michelle

    Pandering, much? There is no conspiracy here. There is no risk of imminent harm. It's the PRESIDENT TELLING KIDS TO WORK HARD AND LEARN STUFF. My god, you Republican screamers would fall all over yourselves to shout the man down if he claimed that the sun rises in the east. Go make yourselves useful and do something about the health care crisis, would you?

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Helen Gjerde

    permalink- what goes around comes around. what is wrong with these republicans, they just do not know how to get along.Shame on you past governor Permalink You sound so Jealous of Obama. shame on you,

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. fielding mellish

    I'm glad we know about this jerk early on. I wonder if he minded when Bush I and Nixon made speeches to school children. The Republican reaction is absurd. What is wrong with this president, or any president, encouraging kids to achieve more in schools?

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. Marty

    Hmmm...he didn't criticize Presidents' Bush or Reagan for doing the same thing. This guy is PURE PARTISAN. He and those like him (on both sides) are what is destroying this country.

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. sue

    There's nothing wrong with a school message from any President right, left or in the middle.
    Reagan talked about taxes with his address to students. My daughter was in high school when Reagan came to town and the school never asked parents if it was okay to go to his rally. My daughter didn't want to go and I didn't even know about it, we were not Reagan supporters but I saw no harm in listening to another point of view. I see no harm in listening now and I do, so should more citizens listen and absorb instead of condemn. Very sad state of affairs for the USA!

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Jesse from Berlin

    "It is time we stand up to President Obama,"It is time we stand up for our principles, and it is time we stand up for the American people."
    He sounds like Obama is the enemy...Has these Repubs about the only people who will suffer if Obama were to fail?... Most Americans voted for him... and that gives him the right to represent them...

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. seebofubar

    Tim, we shouldnt criticize Barry from creating the Obama youth, after all, Adalph did it.

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. MIKE

    Never in the history of this country we have a intelligent President, Smart and Honest, STOP GOP just making noise because if we analyze from the last past 60 years, YOU REPUBLICANS have been making big mass and infecting un-educated citizens all over, with this technique of fear and intimidation.
    Please let Mr. Obama to make a difference in the good people of this country.
    As far you Republicans, keep you mouth shout.

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. Greg

    This hate mongering of the President has got to stop. The Republicans are making themselves look like fools. I am so glad that I swtiched parties.The party of "no' and hate" will never hold power again at the rate they are going. They are an embarrassment.

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  23. Kimber

    Wow. That is truly some of the worst rubbish I have heard.
    "It is time to stand up to President Obama"!!! What happened to respecting our leaders??

    Some conservatives are blowing this way out of proportion. President Obama is merely giving a pep speech to children. Trying to start their school year off right. He is showing support and encouragement to thousand of students who may not have good role models to look up to.

    What happened to standing behind our president?

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  24. Michael

    These jokers are the gift that keeps on giving. Republicans need to get serious fast, before they become a complete joke.

    September 4, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  25. Rich

    Governor, did you speak out this way when Reagan and Bush did the same. Reagan even spoke about tax cuts. I hope you had the same outrage?! My guess is not!

    September 4, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
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