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Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty Tweets of Obama’s ‘European Pub Crawl’



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Snap, from Tim Pawlenty’s Twitter account:

@BarackObama sorry to interrupt the European pub crawl, but what was your Medicare plan?

Is visiting European capitals and the G-8 summit really fairly characterized as a “pub crawl”? Eh, maybe not. But the visual of Obama drinking Guinness in the bar got plenty of play, and it fits the GOP theme that Obama is often doing the candidate side work.

This is the first sign of the Trump pugnaciousness rubbing off on other candidates.

Dave Weigel disagrees with my prediction that we won’t see Barack Obama inside another bar for the remainder of the campaign. We’ll see; clearly the mockery of his golf game hasn’t kept Obama off the links. In fact, this White House prefers to ignore criticism of bad optics, as the Los Angeles Times’s Andrew Malcolm laid out in great detail.

But Obama’s strength has never been the have-a-beer-with-the-guys campaign stops, anyway. (“Can’t I just eat my waffle?”) He thrives with the full arenas, with thousands chanting his name and fainting in his presence. Any future appearances with those venues will assure snarky comments and Leno jokes about, “Ah, the presidential pub crawl continues,” and you never know which misstep or bad trait will start to stick in the public narrative of a president.

Tags: Barack Obama , Tim Pawlenty

The Ethanol Phaseout: Pawlenty’s Most Interesting Move Yet



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Phil Klein salutes presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty for stating that ethanol subsidies need to be phased out, while kicking off his campaign today. I would argue this move is even better politics than Klein describes.

First, it actually gives his claim of “truth-telling” some credibility, and might be the most interesting thing Pawlenty has done yet. Almost every candidate claims to be willing to make hard choices and tell hard truths; we all remember then-candidate Barack Obama promising a “net spending cut” with few specifics.

For a while, it seemed Pawlenty might have followed this path; as Rich and Ramesh write in a piece posted today, “his speeches to conservatives have been notable for their groan-inducing panders.” On ethanol, Pawlenty has offered a conservative stance that genuinely involves telling an audience something they don’t want to hear, and this stance is a big, flashing anti-pander in a state that’s pretty key to his bid. He didn’t tuck it into a policy pamphlet or a line in a speech to CPAC; he put it right there in the kickoff speech, in front of an Iowa audience not likely to be receptive. The allegedly milquetoast candidate almost comes across as a little brash.

Secondly, this stance will probably do Pawlenty more good outside of Iowa than harm inside. Note that one of the first big problems Newt Gingrich ran into this year was a high-profile, noisy fight with the Wall Street Journal editorial board over the value of ethanol subsidies, attributing the criticism of the subsidies to “simple urban elitism or a desire to see rural Americans earn less money.” In that moment, Gingrich significantly harmed his standing as a serious conservative reformer and teller of hard truths. Any other GOP contender who did the same would face similar criticism of folding in the face of losing a few points in the Iowa caucuses.

Thirdly, the stance may act as a form of Iowa-loss-insurance. No doubt, Pawlenty has to perform well in Iowa. But if he loses narrowly, he and his folks now have a ready-made spin/excuse: “Look, he called for ending ethanol subsidies, and some Iowa Republicans don’t like to hear that. But now he’s demonstrated he’s willing to make the tough call and pay the political price for those tough calls.”

Keep in mind, the politically passionate folks in almost every other state resent the preeminent role Iowa plays in the presidential selection process. No state is “typical,” but Iowa’s economy is heavily agricultural and heavily unionized; their GOP voting bloc is heavily socially conservative, arguably quasi-isolationist; and A) the caucus process helps ensure no secret ballot, as everyone else who shows up can see who you support, while B) the timing ensures that no night-shift workers or those who can’t find babysitters participate.

To Republicans in other, non-corn-growing states, the ethanol subsidy looks like just another special-interest group demanding a handout. If it costs Pawlenty a few points in the Hawkeye State, he’s likely to be bragging about it in other states.

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty and Cain: Two Strong Introductory Videos



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I think the first 60 seconds and last 20 seconds or so of Pawlenty’s announcement are pitch-perfect.

My only quibble is that the biographical stuff feels a little forced in there, stuck between a different beginning and a strong closing pitch. At first glance, one might think, “Oh, it’s because Pawlenty isn’t well known, he needs to tell the audience something about himself,” but Pawlenty’s name ID is actually starting to climb up there — 48 percent among Republicans in the last Gallup poll.

There was another official campaign launch this weekend, and it increasingly appears Herman Cain has the potential to be more than the Alan Keyes of this cycle, the entertaining long-shot. Whatever happens in this cycle, it seems likely that Cain will remain a rock star in Republican circles for a long time to come. And if you’re going to emphasize your biography,  maybe you need to put it front and center, as Cain does:

One of the aspects of modern (bad) political advertising is how you can “see the strings on the marionettes,” how a candidate who needs to emphasize an aspect will often do it in a manner that is a little too obvious. For example, seeing Cain address the audience from a boardroom clearly is meant to remind us of his success at the highest levels of the business world.

But I really liked the clear but not-too-heavy way this video alluded to Cain’s Christian faith. I didn’t know Cain had been given only a 30 percent chance of survival during his cancer diagnosis; seeing the candidate walking through his church in this context didn’t seem preachy or a heavy-handed sales pitch to religious conservatives; it only seems natural that during a time of personal crisis, facing one’s mortality, one turns to what one trusts most.

The one surprising omission: Considering how Cain thrives in front of crowds, I’m surprised they only showed silent glimpses of him addressing Tea Party rallies.

Tags: Herman Cain , Tim Pawlenty

A Debate to Remember? Eh, Probably Not.



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In the last Morning Jolt of the week, a quick roundup of debate reactions:

The First Debate, the GOP’s Version of Preseason Football

“Something very special happened this evening,” declared Fox News’s Wizard of the Dial-Based Instant Polls, Frank Luntz, discussing the reaction to former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain in his focus group. Thursday night was the first GOP debate — but with a limited lineup of Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, and Rick Santorum.

Like with the Hall of Fame Game that kicks off the NFL season, most of the big-name starters remained on the bench: No appearance by Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, or Mitch Daniels. Actually, perhaps we should handle all future debates like preseason football; give the big names like Palin and Romney and Huckabee a series of questions and then let them stand on the sidelines while the rising stars get to play for roster spots. Eh, that metaphor breaks down somewhere.

Erick Erickson has a gripe with the Luntz panel: “OK, I bought the Luntz panel saying Cain came in first. Now I question their mental competence saying Santorum came in second.”

Guy Benson: “If I *had* to pick a winner tonight, it’s Pawlenty. Very strong out of the gate. Seemed solid, pretty polished, & credible.”

Jedediah Bila: “Winner in my opinion tonight: Herman Cain. Why? Authenticity. It comes through. Would’ve liked more specifics from him on foreign policy issues.”

John Podhoretz: “The praise for Herman Cain is basically a choice of ‘none of the above.’ I’m somewhat impressed by Pawlenty, but he needs to lose the spray-on tan.”

The newly-wed Mary Katharine Ham (shouldn’t she be on her honeymoon?) isn’t surprised. “Anyone surprised focus group is saying Cain won: If you’re funny, you win. If you’re charming, you win. Herman Cain both. Charisma matters . . . Cain’s take on political experience, ‘How’s that workin’ for ya?’ is the perfect encapsulation of the current feeling for many voters.” If I remember correctly, Obama offered a similar argument in 2008, citing Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld as the embodiment of experienced Washington insiders to Democratic primary voters.

Phil Klein scores it completely differently: “I thought Santorum helped himself the most tonight. Ron Paul came off better than usual. Everyone else was sort of par.”

Over in the Corner, Kyle Peterson was on-scene and offers a summary.

Tags: Herman Cain , Rick Santorum , Ron Paul , Tim Pawlenty

Ron Paul and Tim Pawlenty, Thursday Night’s Most Popular Guys



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The most common knock on former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s presidential aspirations is that he has low name ID.

Thursday night, at the first Republican presidential debate of the 2012 cycle, sponsored by the South Carolina GOP and Fox News, he’ll be the second-most-supported candidate on the stage. (On-stage frontrunner? Ron Paul!) The event features only five candidates: Herman Cain, Gary Johnson, Paul,  Pawlenty and Rick Santorum.

A poll out today:

When Republicans and independent voters leaning Republican name their 2012 presidential primary preference, Romney gets 18 percent, with Huckabee and Palin at 15 percent each and Trump at 12 percent. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul have 5 percent each. Two Minnesotans, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachman, get 4 percent each.

Johnson and Santorum scored 1 percent each; the pollsters of Quinnipiac did not list Cain as an option.

Tags: 2012 , Tim Pawlenty

Was Obama’s Bridge Story a Swing at Pawlenty?



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In today’s Morning Jolt, there’s a look at the latest Trump analysis, the president’s irritation with a Dallas reporter, and the rise of SkyNet. (No, really.) But today’s appetizer is the discussion of why Obama cited Minnesota’s bridge collapse as a potential consequence of budget cuts, when the collapse was the result of a design flaw:

In the headlines I wish I had thought of department, Bryan Preston calls the latest Obama anecdote a “bridge over troubled demagoguery.”

Obama’s invocation of a bridge collapse from a few years ago has Ed Morrissey seeing red at Hot Air: “The headline really doesn’t do justice to the actual offensive nature of this video from today’s town hall in Annandale. Obama keeps mentioning “potholes” on roads, but unless he’s referring to interstate highways, the federal government doesn’t fix potholes. To the extent that it funds pothole repair, those funds come from drafting taxes from people where local and state taxes could have been raised instead, and more local control and prioritization of pothole repair would result in better service, rather than wait to see whose Congressman can get their pork put ahead of another’s. But being from Minneapolis, the implication that the St. Anthony Falls bridge collapse in August 2007 had to do with infrastructure spending isn’t just ignorant of basic civics, it’s downright false and offensive.

The bridge collapse occurred because of a design defect, a conclusion reached by the National Transportation Safety Board. The bridge was designed and built in an era when engineers thought that redundant systems were both unnecessary and inefficient.  Gusset plates installed at the time of the bridge’s building were too thin, and without any redundancy to account for a major failure on a single point, it was a tragedy waiting to happen from day 1.  It had nothing to do with any lack of maintenance, and in fact collapsed because of scheduled maintenance to the deck that inadvertently destabilized it to the point of collapse. It’s dishonest in the extreme to use this tragedy as an argument that we neglected our infrastructure, and ghoulish to use the dead for a false political point.  Obama should be ashamed of himself.”

But he’s not, Ed.

Moe Lane sees an intriguing motive here: “ Obama getting in digs against Pawlenty early. Why else lie about the Minnesota bridge collapse? Admittedly, that’s about the only thing that the Democrats actually have on Tim Pawlenty, so I suppose that they think that they might as well try to milk the deaths of 13 people for partisan gain.  One has to have one’s priorities in order, after all – and there’s almost nothing more important to President Obama right now than getting re-elected.”

Get ready for more, warns Pete Wehner: “So the president is using a dishonest recounting of an event, in which more than a dozen people died, in order to support a bad policy. And one suspects that Obama is only warming up, that as we get nearer the election, the more this kind of dishonesty will occur. To see Obama employ these techniques underscores just how weak his case is and how cynical and (literally) unbelievable his claims have become. It isn’t quite what we were told to expect, is it?”

Tags: Barack Obama , Tim Pawlenty

Huckaney? Romabee? Pawlenty?



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I suspect this analogy, offered by a Campaign Spot reader, will make heads explode and somehow irritate supporters of all three:

“Tim Pawlenty is the Huck/Mitt love child — a telegenic blue state governor with a populist tone.”

Of course, now someone will accuse me of starting a love child rumor about both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

Tags: Mike Huckabee , Mitt Romney , Tim Pawlenty

Two Big GOP Hires This Monday Morning



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Two interesting bits of campaign hiring news, involving two men who played key roles in the GOP wins in the midterms:

First, a big hire for Tim Pawlenty: “Fox News has learned former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will announce on Monday that his presidential exploratory committee has hired Nick Ayers on as campaign manager. The move puts Ayers in position to fill the role of campaign manager in the likely event that Pawlenty announces a full blown presidential campaign in the next month or two. Nick Ayers is the former Executive Director of the Republican Governors Association under the leadership of Miss. Gov Haley Barbour, who is also weighing a potential White House run.”

Secondly, one of the chief strategists for House Republicans during the midterms moves to an influential non-party group: “Former National Republican Congressional Committee Political Director Brian O. Walsh will be the new president of American Action Network. Starting today, he’ll head up a powerful outside group that spent $26 million on races last election cycle.”

Last October, I chatted with Brian Walsh about the NRCC’s strategic choices here.

Tags: American Action Network , Nick Ayers , NRCC , RGA , Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty: Paul Ryan Is ‘Offering Real Leadership in Washington’



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Tim Pawlenty is among the first of the 2012 contenders to offer a statement on Paul Ryan’s budget proposal:

“Thanks to Paul Ryan in Congress, the American people finally have someone offering real leadership in Washington. President Obama has failed to lead and make tough choices his entire time in the White House. While the budget is going to be debated for several months to come, the more immediate issue we face is President Obama’s plans to raise the debt ceiling next month. That’s a really bad idea. With over $14 trillion debt already, we should not allow Washington’s big spenders to put us further in the hole. We must get our fiscal house in order with real spending cuts and with real structural reforms that stop the spending spree before it bankrupts our country.”

Tags: Paul Ryan , Tim Pawlenty

How Can We Win the Future if We’re Losing the Present?



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Tim Pawlenty responds to Obama’s announcement video with a video of his own, an ominous one with music that reminds me of the soundtrack to Inception.

We can wake up from this presidency.

Tags: Barack Obama , Tim Pawlenty

Meet Tim Pawlenty, a Youth Hockey Team, and His Dog



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The presidential campaign of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty debuts with fantastic production values:

Clearly, Pawlenty’s aiming for two themes: 1) “Our country has veered onto the wrong track” and 2) “I’m the man to fix it.” On the former, it’s almost the traditional campaign-ad iconography: padlocked gate at a factory; “Bank owned,” “Foreclosure,” and “Not hiring” signs; a closed car dealership. On the latter, smiling hard workers, suburban streets, Pawlenty shaking hands with those smiling hard workers, historical footage, Reagan, Lincoln, Pawlenty skating with the youth ice-hockey team. Oh, and a dog.

And lots of flags. I counted 18 images of the flag in Pawlenty’s two-minute video, which comes out to roughly one every seven seconds.

And yet . . . as of nearly 5 p.m., the YouTube page indicates it has been watched 315 times. Perhaps it’s a busy news day (Libya) or it’s too early in the cycle for the announcement of an exploratory bid to make much of a splash. There’s little visibly wrong with the way Pawlenty is introducing himself to the country as a presidential candidate. But it feels like, so far, it needs a bit more “oomph” to generate some genuine excitement.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, YouTube only updates the number of views periodically, so the 315 may be much higher the next time YouTube updates the numbers. But I stand by my original point, that it feels like the Pawlenty debut is competing for media oxygen on a day with many big stories, some life-and-death . . .

UPDATE: And now it’s up to 22,000 . . .

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty Has Big, if Predictable, News



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From the good folks on Tim Pawlenty’s team:

Governor Pawlenty will have a major announcement exclusive to supporters on Facebook at 3 pm ET today. To get access to the message, individuals can “like” the Tim Pawlenty Facebook page at facebook.com/timpawlenty.

Peter Hamby of CNN reports it will be the announcement of the formation of a presidential exploratory committee.

I was nearly certain that Pawlenty would showcase that he’s ready to be president by showing how well he has done on his brackets in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Tim Wants Us All to Stand With Scott



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Tim Pawlenty urges us to “Stand With Scott.”

Pawlenty’s PAC is setting up a petition, too. Of course, collecting information for that petition will also provide a bunch of names and e-mails of grassroots conservatives for any future Pawlenty campaign . . .

Tags: Scott Walker , Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty to Talk Public-Sector Unions at Tea Party Summit



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Wisconsin’s teachers, the runaway state lawmakers, the DNC, and President Obama have all ensured that a major issue in the 2012 GOP primary will be reining in runaway expenses for public-sector unions.

Tim Pawlenty will headline an inaugural policy summit being put on by one of the largest national tea party groups in the U.S.

Tea Party Patriots announced Friday morning that the former Minnesota governor and probable 2012 GOP presidential candidate will be the keynote speaker at their event, titled “American Policy Summit — Pathways to Liberty,” which is being held February 25-27 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and businessman and radio talk-show host Herman Cain — who are also considering bids for the White House — are also speaking at the event, which organizers say will bring tea party supporters and public policy analysts together for briefings, discussions and policy debates. The summit is being held as tea party activists mark the second anniversary of their movement’s birth.

“Governor Pawlenty is looking forward to sharing his lessons learned from winning tough battles with the liberals and public employees’ unions in Minnesota,” Pawlenty adviser and spokesman Alex Conant tells CNN. “This tea party group is a great champion for tax and spending cuts — something Governor Pawlenty feels strongly about.”

Tags: Herman Cain , Ron Paul , Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty: Let’s Not Follow Greece Into Bankruptcy



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A quick preview of Tim Pawlenty’s speech before CPAC today:

Just because we followed Greece into democracy, does not mean we need to follow them into bankruptcy.

Of course, the government spenders come with excuses. . . . I know something about the spenders — and I know something about difficult. I’m from the state of McCarthy, Mondale, Humphrey, Wellstone, and now — United States Senator Al Franken.

But we cut government in Minnesota, and if we can do it there, we can do it anywhere. . . .

I drew a line in the sand and said, “Absolutely not.” We’re going to live within our means just like families, just like businesses, just like everybody else.

It wasn’t easy. I set a record for vetoes in my state. Vetoed billions of dollars of tax and spending increases. Had the first government shutdown in Minnesota’s history. Took one of the longest transit strikes in the country’s history to get public-employee benefits under control. And, in the last budget period, I cut spending in real terms for the first time in the history of my state.

Pawlenty is not officially running for president, but is expected to reach a decision sometime in late spring.

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

T-Pawmageddon!



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I’m convinced: If we have to send somebody up in a space shuttle to blow up an asteroid on course to destroy the earth, I say we send former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty:

Should he be president? I don’t know, but he’s already proven he could play the president giving a “We can do this!” speech in a Jerry Bruckheimer movie.

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty: Expect My Decision on a Presidential Bid in Spring or So



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My interview of Tim Pawlenty is now posted. Among the highlights:

  • Expect a decision on the presidential campaign sometime in spring — at least, that’s how I interpret “sometime toward the end of the first quarter or the early part of the second quarter of this year, 2011.”
  • You’ll want to read the book to enjoy stories of dogs biting the pamphlets of young, aspiring state legislator Pawlenty, or the meeting where Pawlenty feared then-governor Jesse Ventura was going to haul off and slug him, or his reaction to the news that he would be inheriting a massive, $6 billion budget deficit from his predecessor.
  • You think he has any potential GOP presidential candidate in mind when he says, “When people talk about Republicans all being wealthy, or former CEOs, or trust-fund kids, all going to Harvard and Yale, and they say, ‘You can’t relate to me and my worries about whether I can afford to put gas in my car, or pay for health insurance, or afford college for my kids,’ I can say, ‘Yeah, I can, I lived exactly that life. I’ve walked in your shoes.’” Any former Bain Capital executive, perhaps?
  • On that note, do you think he has any potential GOP presidential candidate in mind when he discusses the 2012 GOP field and says, “The question isn’t going to be some huge divergence of policy positions. I think the question is going to be, ‘As you look at these as individuals, do their life stories and times in previous office demonstrate the fortitude to do the hard work that’s got to be done to turn this country around? Do they actually have results?’ I put my record against any of them.” Any well-known Republican who departed the position of governor a bit early, perhaps?
  • He responds to the possibility of a second Minnesotan joining the 2012 presidential race, Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Tags: Mitt Romney , Sarah Palin , Tim Pawlenty

T-Paw on Objecting to Reading the Constitution: ‘Are You Kidding Me?’



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I had a chance to talk to outgoing Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who’s readying a book tour that will conveniently take him through some key presidential-primary states. The full interview should be up sometime early next week, but I’ll preview one exchange dealing with events from this morning:

NRO: A very current-event-oriented question: They’re about to begin reading the Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives, and Democrats are objecting. I think my favorite line is that apparently Jay Inslee of Washington said, ‘We have not had time to review the document before us.’

TP: Are you kidding me?

NRO: (reading) “We have not been able to review the exact language we will be reading today.” (laughter)

TP: I applaud the initiative of reading the Constitution on the floor of the Congress. I think they should do that regularly. Anything we can do to call more attention to the Constitution, the founding documents, the Founders’ intent, I stand up and cheer all that.

Tags: Jay Inslee , Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty Has the Courage to Stand Smelly Meat Hooks



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I wonder if Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee will run across each other on their book tours.

Here’s the first excerpt from Pawlenty’s, Courage to Stand:

I think I was about twelve when my dad picked up a side job to earn a few bucks one weekend — a side job that required my help.

It was a hot, sweltering summer day, the kind of day when outside work is the last thing anyone wants to do. But my dad clearly needed me, and I always wanted to lend a hand if I could. I didn’t ask a lot of questions, and he didn’t give me very much information about the task at hand — until we got down to this parking lot beside a warehouse.

The “side job” included yanking meat hooks from large wooden bins that were stashed in a couple of truck trailers on the lot. Tangled meat hooks that once held whole sides of beef were tossed in those bins, in trucks without Thermo Kings to cool down their trailers. Hundreds of thick, heavy meat hooks, covered with discarded raw remnants of sinew and fat, all rotting in the blistering heat. It was up to my dad and me to pull out every one of those hooks and hang them up — presumably to be power-washed and used again.

Have you ever opened up an expired or rotting pack of hamburger from the bottom of your refrigerator and given it a big whiff? Yeah. Multiply that times a thousand, and you’ll get the idea. You could smell that rotting meat as soon as we opened the doors of those trailers.  Then, when we hopped up there, we could hear the buzzing. My dad reached in and grabbed the first hook, and I held my breath and leaned in through a swarm of flies to grab mine — and I lost it. I tossed my cookies next to one of the bins, only adding to the mess and the stench.

My dad didn’t say much to me. I looked up at him, hoping for an out. He isn’t really gonna make me keep doing this, is he? My dad’s face was steady. He wasn’t having an easy go of it either. But he looked at me and said quietly, “We have to do this.”

It was all he needed to say.

I think every aspiring president should begin their memoir with an anecdote about vomiting.

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Where Are the Aspiring GOP Presidents on the Tax Deal?



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A reader writes in:

Question: What do Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, and Rick Santorum have in common?

Answer: Apparently, all have been moved to a secure undisclosed location since the announcement Monday night of Barack Obama’s so-called “compromise” tax deal. Not a peep has been heard from any Republican supposedly considering a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. For more than sixty hours, they have remained silent.

Note to would-be leaders: The first one to go public in opposition to this “deal” is going to be on wall-to-wall cable TV, and — given that Tea Party leaders have announced their opposition to the “deal” — will earn major street cred with some voter groups that are going to have something to say about the 2012 nomination you seek.

In shorter, sweeter terms: If you want to be a leader . . . lead.

The reader isn’t quite right. I notice that on Twitter, Palin has retweeted a link to an interview by Sen. Jim DeMint expressing skepticism of the deal, and a comment from Jedediah Bila, saying, “Thank you, @JimDeMint - DeMint comes out against tax deal, says GOP must do ‘better than this’ -http://t.co/BmjsAh3 .’ That’s not explicit opposition, but certainly seems to lean that way.

John Thune said he has some concerns, but said on Hannity there’s a lot to like for Republicans in the deal:

I see nothing about this issue yet on the site for Romney’s PAC, nothing on Newt.org, nothing on the site for Tim Pawlenty’s PAC, nothing on Huckabee’s site, or Santorum’s site.

Having said that, keep in mind that only Thune actually as a vote on this. And if these aspiring GOP figures like the deal, they may calculate that the endorsement of several aspiring Republican presidents might be enough to drive Democrats away from it . . .

UPDATE: This comment from Huckabee on Twitter today suggests he supports the deal: “If House Democrats end up blocking this tax deal – it proves AGAIN, they just don’t get it. Hurry up January.”

Tags: Haley Barbour , John Thune , Mike Huckabee , Mitch Daniels , Mitt Romney , Newt Gingrich , Rick Santorum , Sarah Palin , Tim Pawlenty

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