September 4th, 2009
03:11 PM ET
12 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. Gary

    Darko and the rest of the Republikaaners have no idea what a Socialist regime looks like. If Liberal had withheld their kids from school when Bush addressed them, they would have been called Anti-American.

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

    What a maroon.

    In this guy's eyes, no president should ever address America's schoolchildren. No politician should ever address America's schoolchildren, under his "reasoning". For that matter, nobody in any political position of any kind should address America's schoolchildren. Neither should people appointed by a political entity. Which includes those elected to public office. Like school administrators. Who hire teachers.

    So let's take the teachers off the list, too, because they were hired by politicians who were elected to the school administration by the same people who elected Obama to the presidency.

    Undoubtedly teachers have been poisoned by Obama.

    It's truly amazing what idiots will spout when they get in front of a camera.

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

    I may not agree with the president on some issues but this "outrage" is a shame. Are you seriously offended to have someone of his caliber encourage our kids to stay in school? Now you wonder why Americans are falling behind in education? Give me a freaking break! Don't treat us like we are dumb idiots. Even when GWB was it was a welcoming sight to see him read to kids. At least Romney is being a leader by his measured words and I am sure he would side with president Obama on this is he wasn't afraid of some loud mouths in the party. Give me a break.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. jessica peterson

    YOU ARE AN IDIOT, Pawlenty.
    I feel horrible for Minnesota. You will never, ever be President. EVER.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Alexander

    The republican party is a shrinking party. This act simply adds to their knee-jerk reaction to whatever the President Obama would do or say. And obviously, once again they base their criticisms on lies and fabrications. If the President of the United States of America wants to tell my kid to work hard and be responsible, then, by God, I will have my kid watch that address. Forcing my child not to watch that is the real crime. Republicans have become truly unpatriotic bunch of angry old white people... sad... so sad... Thank God real Americans voted President Obama in office. Bye bye repubs... nobody will miss ya!

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. d

    The U.S. Government officials are a very sad representation of the country.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    He (Pawlenty) needs to go somewhere and sat down with his racist views. There is nothing wrong with the President telling kids to stay in school and get good grades. Republicans have shown their true colors since President Obama became the POTUS.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Kathy C

    This is absolutely outrageous! I am so outraged that right-wing nuts are making the President's speech to school children out to be some sort of political agenda! No wonder the Republicans are losing supporters! How dare they insinuate such lies! I think it's a wonderful thing for our President to encourage kids to stay in school. Why didn't these idiots complain with George Bush #1 and Ronald Reagan talked to school children?! Absolutely insane! What is our country coming to? Where has reason, logic, kindess, and cooperation gone? Our country is in deep trouble with all of this back & forth partisan bickering! I'm an Independent & I'm thinking it's about time to kick all of the Republicans & Democrats out of office & put some Independent, educated people in office!!!

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. Elle

    This is crazy! What's wrong with watching the President on TV? I recall watching an address by Ronald Regan as well as George H.W. Bush in school. What... just because Obama's a democrat there's now a problem?

    Get over it.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Rich

    People keep saying indoctrination can someone please point me to one piece of evidence other then the Republican press releases that proves that this is the case? No you can't! Why because it isn't true. I think Republicans need to accept the fact a majority of Americans voted for Obama. The US put up with 8 years of Bush politicizing every aspect of the government and now we need to reverse it.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. T Mckinley

    I can guarantee you something; if this were a Republican President about to address the students of our nation, these same Republicans would be in full support of it.

    I never thought I would be saying this, but it seems that Mitt Romney, who I really don't like, is the only Republican out saying something intelligent on the issue.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  12. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Your obvious hatred comes from turning your TV to the Fox Noise channel and supergluing the knob so it can't be changed. Why don't you formulate your own opinion after reading the transcript instead of being an arrogant parokeet and echoing everything Hannity said last night.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Julian

    The front page link to this article said Pawlenty "mocks" Obama's speech. What part of the above article is mocking? The points, which some may disagree with, are at least legitimate and not mocking in nature.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. EJ

    so working hard and helping people = socialism

    whatever darko is a racist

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  15. Appalled

    What is wrong with us Americans??!! We have political parties ganging up on OUR President, every step of the way. They are not really against what they claim. They are against another party. They have not done a thing towards the benefit of our country. They are putting party at all costs over country. I just can not fathom why. In the past the word of the President was respected. I remember when I was school if there was news or a message the President wanted to convey, the schools would let the children witness this. What's wrong with the current Presidnt's message? Is it bad to encourage our children to try their best at school, to empower them to take charge of their future? MaCarthy is still with us in this country and it truely frightens me.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. Minnesotan

    My god the GOP is has just gone bat crap crazy!!! Any other President, both Dem or Rep would have been able to address our students without all this conspiracy idiocy. But our black President.... oooooh... watch out for the black President. I am so dissapointed in the party that proclaims to be the party of the patriot. They are acting like lunatic liberals and should be joining forces with the AFL-CIO. Maybe now they will at least understand how that organization stands up for people's rights.

    September 4, 2009 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Breal

    And Darko socialism is an economic theory that's it. Take your tinfoil hat off and join the real world.

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Annette

    And who said this country was a true republic? We are all ists merged into what some call a free enterprise – captalist? don't be so naive! Your eyes are wide shut!

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I am totally SHOCKED at all of this criticism! President Obama was duly elected by a majority of Americans! Are you saying anything he has to say is not for our childrens' ears?????

    I think it is totally appropriate for our school kids to be exposed to politics in school. Isn't that where they LEARN about life??? We had politics in high school when I was there in the 1950's, for cryin' out loud! We had ELECTIONS for class positions!

    I hope these kids DO go to U-Tube and wherever Obama's speeches are and really listen to them. Then they will see what hypocrites they have for parents.

    I am very disappointed that Obama caved in to these sick conspiracy wackos. These people should NOT be breeding kids!!!

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Jake

    Why the uproar!?

    As a grade school student I was forced to respect Ronald Reagan and George H Bush. Their photos hung over our classrooms with their smirks hovering above our heads.

    It was after I grew up that I realized they were both douche bags and had some really terrible divisive policies! But I was FORCED to respect and listen to them.

    The conservative base really needs to get a grip! Thanks to McCain and Palin on the campaign trail, now all the impressionable Jesus lovers are trembling with the words "Obama scares me." They are pathetic!

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Ginger

    What's with these republicans anyhow, saw the Senator from OK saying Governement is taking over the schools, where were they when "43" put the non-funded "no child left behing", are they also complaining about Title seems that no matter what President Obama does according to Republicans its wrong. Are their memories so short they forgotten the mess that "43" left this Country in?

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Jeff

    The Republicans are completely out of control. I hope this comes back to bite them on the butt when he gives the address and it turns out just fine and totally uncontroversial. People will see that their hysterics are just massive overreactions and it will discredit them in the health care debate as well.

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. steve

    Governor's Pawlenty's comments show that he has little or nothing constructive to say and that it is good news that he won't run for the Governor's office again. It would help the country if politicians, especially Republicans, could find a way to contribute in a positive way rather than make comments like these.

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Jaime

    Obama wants to address students to encourage them to do well and work hard. Nothing to do with socialism. Nothing to do with anything political at all. This howle debate is completly outrageous.

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. Bette

    You know what, I'm a registered Republican and I don't need the likes of the paranoid leaders of the Republican Party "standing up for me". I can stand up for myself by researching these ridiculous political controversies and forming my own conclusions as to whether there is any truth to them. If the rest of the Republicans would do the same thing they would find out that their party has been high jacked by a bunch of nuts who are feeding them extreme distortions and lies. If there are any "normal" Republicans left out there, I'd suggest that you start joining local Republican clubs in great numbers and taking control of the party again. That's what the ultra-conservative, right wing nuts did and they now outnumber reasonable, sane Republicans and have made the party into a farce. We need to elect new leadership that won't pander to this lunatic fringe, starting with Republican Party officials at all levels, to local and national elected political officeholders. This stupid controversy over the President speaking to school children is the icing on the cake.

    September 4, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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