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. John

    It is all politics. The Republicans are attempting to defeat Obama at all costs including costs to our Nation.

    September 4, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Anthony

    "Its time we stand up to President Obama"..

    Really? He's OUR President...
    He's been in office 8 months, what do u mean "Its time"??

    Where was your disapproval when Bush was sitting there reading to kindergardeners while our Twin Towers were being attacked (under his watch)?
    God, these Republicans are utterly out of their minds.

    Obama can save a kitten from a tree and the Republicans will still manage to find fault in his actions.

    No wonder this country is in such bad shape.

    September 4, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. PJ

    The republicans have finally gone off the earth and are in space somewhere. These bozo's not only wanted to undo the US constitution under Bush but they want to finish destroying the country. How is a speech to students by the president being received with such vehemence, vitriol and hatred? It boggles the mind. How is telling students to do well in school and help the country such a bad thing? I don't like these republicans view of my country. I think that they should just fade into the scrap heap of bad ideas.

    September 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Terri

    You know the Republicans never cease to amaze me. I for one had high hopes that in the year of 2009 the United States would be acceptable to a man of color being the President.

    It is so sad how the republicans are trying everything in their power to bring President Obama down. I can accept that they may have some legitimate concerns and different views; however, some of these things they are doing are out of pure hatred and has to do with the fact that they can't accept a black man as President. No matter what he does, they find fault with it.

    When did encouraging students to stay in school become harmful? My gosh, he is a caring and loving father and would do nothing to harm any of your children. I am sick of all this negativity and arguing back and forth. Let's give him the respect he deserves as President.

    I pray everyday that God covers him and his family and give him strength to make it through these hard times. To all you true believers, let's keep our President uplifted in prayer. NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST HIM WILL PROSPER.!!!!

    September 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Lue Blackwell

    I am so sick and tired of the "repugs"and their whining about every and any thing that Pres. Obama does. Instead of them doing what is best for the nation-they always have bring politics into the fold. They are like some whining two year old having a temper tantrum. They do not respect and accept the fact that Obama won the election. Contrary to what morning joe-with his arrogance says about Pres. Obama being in office for 9mos.-when it has only been 7mos.-he has done more than any of the repugs have done!!!!!

    September 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Annette

    How disrespectful to mock the President regarding his talk to the Nations children. A 10 year child said" that there are some people who won't accept President Obama as our first African American President. He is a postive image for all people and some people don't what everybody to know he is a good role model". A 10 year said this. Shame on these parents and those oppose to the President speaking to our nation children. How disrepectful is it, that our congressmen will support this crazy and insane move. But God will prevail, because I believe the President will reach millions of children with a postive and inspiring message and will be received by our nation's children equally Amen!

    September 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. barbati

    Yeah, we sure don't want Obama persuading kids to stay in school. That would be a tragedy. (But I supported it when George H.W. Bush did it. That was different.)

    September 4, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Swift

    More incredible and ridiculous paranoia from the right wing.

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Justin

    What is at work here is blantant rascism from the GOP. The news media need to call these racists out. The repuplican party is a party of racists period. It is okay for Bush ( a white man) to talk to school children, but when it come to Obama ( a black man), then there is a problem. They have hidden behind the Tea Party, the health care misinformation (outright lies), call the the president nazi, communists, socialist etc. Enough is enough.

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |

    You Pawnlenty JERK!. The President is NOT forcing Our School students that NEEDS someone to tell how important it is to take care of business in school. We as a Nation is failing in Education(WE ALL KNOW THIS) You guys out there are soooo quick to trash the President on ANYTHING good that he is doing. I did not in the past and still do not see /hear in the present about anything you guys are doing for the good of our country. REPUBLICANS YOU GUYS SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELVES.


    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    As a Minnesota resident, I am particularly outraged at the audacity of this arrogant pup to criticize the President's right to speak to school children of America. Pawlenty is a dangerous person who spreads lies and republican propaganda. The people of Minnesota are extremely upset with his lack of leadership and refusal to consider bi-partican solutions. He is leaving our state in shambles.

    Perhaps Pawlenty didn't know that Reagan and George H.W. Bush also addressed the school childen on the first day of school. That was all right, of course, since they were neither black nor democrats..

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Karrie

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

    If I had to list 10 of the stupidest things to come out of a politician's mouth this year, this would be one of them. Yeah, and maybe the younger ones would get a response back in crayon.

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Someone needs to put a foot in these Repugnicans' @sses. This kind of unbelievable crap has got to STOP. They are over the top at this point and think that just because the ignorant and uneducated are buying into the lies about Healthcare reform that they can try to stir up crap about ANYTHING our president does or says. This has got to stop NOW. The man is a father in his own right and would not say anything to hurt America's children. I have never seen in my 42 years on this Earth such obvious racial hatred of a president as I see here. Just unbelievable..

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    I think the Governor has lost all respect for the office of the Presidency. The Republican party will soon be able to meet on a raft because they are clearly becoming more and more isolated.

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. sickatheart

    As a parent, a grandmother, and a former teacher, I would have welcomed having a wonderful person such as President Obama address my children. We desperately need role models in America to help our children know what it means to be moral and ethical Americans. They certainly couldn't tell from listening to this governor or to the other weasels who show such disdain for President Obama. I now see that the immorality of Lee Atwater lives on in the Republican Party, especially in this governor. Shame on you!

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. Breal

    Really? Really? This is what its come to? A President can't even tell kids to hold themselves accountable and get an education? Wow. Good luck US of A in the 21st century.

    September 4, 2009 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Serve notice

    Note that the less educated US electorate consistently votes Republican. Our President, a role model for the nation's youth, wants to give a speech to boost confidence in our school kids. And the Republicans turn that into a political controversy. You're the "say no" party, a party of radical hypocrites with no agenda other than stifling the democrats' agenda, no ideas of your own to improve the nation. It's astonishing to listen to blow-hards like Pawlently criticize the nations president giving an address to motivate the nation's school children. Republican obstructionists at it again. Please, people, use your heads and don't listen to people like Pawlently, Steele, Palin (the worst of all), and the others...

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. white female

    I am so sick of these uneducated fools, please give it a rest people.
    The horse is out the barn, He is the President of the USA.
    This is a fact, all you backward thinking people should go sit in the corner and read a book.

    This is the greatest President we will ever have. Not all of americans are stupid Black or White we get it,

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  19. danel

    Well.. Timmy if you don't want to listen to it, it's your prerogative.

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  20. ldfa

    It's no wonder that America wants to vote out all incumbents in political office. The silliness of this issue is beyone pale and Tim Pawlenty (along with the various talk show hosts) should be ashamed to even discuss this. Why not have a President (either President Obama's predecessor Pres Bush #1 or President Obama himself) speak to school children across the country. Why not have a venue where children watch and perhaps get interested in the message. What harm can come from an uplifting message of work hard and stay in school?

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Torture is Not Okay

    Pawlenty – are you a klan member? Wy are you so afraid of our first black president?

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. James

    Our country continues to show its true colors and the racism is stifling.

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. smoothoperator

    What else do we expect from the NOP??? i remember Reagan and Bush on their speech to our children's and there was not a fuss from the Democratic Party or the media or the left.
    Why the big deal now????? ahhh, perhaps the right wing nuts can't stand someone different to them (should i mention color?)

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. eolufemi

    Spoken like a true traitor. When are we going to root out all the treasonous Nazis calling themselves republicans. They are this country's greatest threat. They got americans killed in Iraq for absolutely no reason, and destroyed our economy. Now they have the audacity to stand in the way of fixing the damage.

    (Sounds ridiculous right? That's how conservatives sound right now with all their outlandish personal attacks on the leader of the free world.)

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. eversotired

    This man is saying that instead of trying to inspire students in person and encourage them to acheive, the president should tell them to look him up on youtube. What a twit.

    September 4, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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