Tim Pawlenty debates on Fox: What he said
Tim Pawlenty showed up last night in South Carolina to debate four other also-rans in the GOP presidential race: Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Gary Johnson.
Pawlenty appeared with the also-rans.
They didn't actually debate, of course. No one debates at debates anymore: They speechify for the television cameras. And no matter how hard Fox News tried to pretend otherwise, last night's event was mostly an excuse to go five-on-one against President Obama -- without Obama actually being in the game to defend himself.
We've got some verbatim quotes from Pawlenty below, but here's the 10-second summary:
Torture's OK when America does it. Unions are evil. Schools can teach magical thinking as science if they want to. We should get out of Libya by getting into Libya. Turkey is in the Middle East (someone alert the European Union before it's too late), Minnesota's fiscal problems are imaginary, and Barack Obama is a bad, bad man.
Killing bin Laden (Well done! But Obama's still a ninny.)
Fox News: President Obama was a Ground Zero today. He received the praise of city leaders there, as well as 9/11 families, for ordering the special ops mission that killed the world's No. 1 terrorist, Osama bin Laden. One month ago, you said of President Obama, 'He doesn't understand America's place in the world, America's place in history. He is weak.' Does he still look weak to you today?
Pawlenty: I do congratulate President Obama for the fine job that he did in making the tough call and being decisive as it related to finding and killing Osama bin Laden. A good job. I tip my cap to him in that moment.
That moment is not the sum total of America's foreign policy. He's made a number of other decisions relating to our security here and around the world that I don't agree with. If it turns out that of the techniques that he criticized during the campaign lead to bin Laden's being identified and killed, he should be asked to explain whether he does or doesn't support those techniques.
To give you one example, in Libya, he made a decision to subordinate our decision-making together United Nations. I don't agree with that. If he says Gadhafi must go he needs to maintain the options to make Gadhafi go and he didn't do that.
Torture (It's OK when America does it)
Fox News: Two years ago, you would not endorse waterboarding of high value detainees. You said, "I think clearly we have to weigh the benefits of the information against the damage it causes not only to the individual, but to our values, more broadly." Since then governor, have you decided where you stand on waterboarding?
Pawlenty: I believe my position hasn't changed.
I've been all over the Middle East, I've been to Iraq five times. I've been to Afghanistan three times. I've been to many other countries in the Mideast, Turkey, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel and others. As to your previous point there is a group of individuals who are radical jihadists we need to call them by name. They believe it is okay to kill people in the name of their religion. It is not all of Islam. It is not all Muslims. But there is a subgroup who believe it is okay. In fact it is their plan and design to kill people.
The first order of business of the United States federal government is to protect this country and the American people. The people and the mindset that killed 3,000 of our fellow citizens on September 11th, 2001 would have killed not 3,000, but 300,000 if they could have or three million or 30 million. We need to do everything we can to make sure that doesn't.
I support enhanced interrogation techniques under limited circumstances.
Fox News: Despite 10 years of the Bush tax cuts the unemployment rate here in South Carolina was 9.6 percent in March. Do you have any ideas for stimulating the job market beyond continued tax cuts?
Pawlenty: It is an important question. As I travel the country people are worried. I grew up in a meat-packing town not unlike Greenville here in South Carolina, that used to have textile mills. When at an early age those plants shutdown I saw the face of jobless and economic worry in my hometown and my own family. I've seen this. I've lived it.
We have a situation where the best thing that we can to for our fellow citizens is do those things that are going to make it more likely that jobs are going to grow. In South Carolina I'll give you a good example, you have this administration through the national labor relation board telling a private company they cannot relocate to South Carolina and provide jobs in this state. And they are good paying jobs and needed jobs. It is a preposterous decision and position of this administration. I want to make it clear. The idea that the federal government can tell a business where they can be is a new line this administration has crossed. It is outrageous.
Minnesota's Broke (No it's not, and even if it is, it's not my fault)
Fox News: The bottom line is you left your state after your term as governor with a projected deficit of six billion dollars.
Pawlenty: Chris, I was governor for the state of Minnesota for eight years. Over four two-year budget cycles, every budget during my time as governor was balanced and the last one ends this coming summer June 30 and it will end up in the black. It is going to end up in the when they talk about this projected deficit coming up in the next two years after that it assumes a 25 percent or so increase in state spending. That's outrageous.
If they live within their means there would be no deficit at all. By the way, the Democrats in Minnesota, wanted more spending. So, this idea that there's a deficit in Minnesota and I left it in Minnesota is not accurate. This two-year budget cycle ends in the black this summer. The two years after that is a projection, based on preposterous assumptions.
Fox News: One of the reasons that people talk about a projected deficit of six billion dollars is because of all the borrowing you took from local school districts. As a result the stay has to pay back the local schools, four billion dollars.
Pawlenty: Actually the deferral of those payments to schools was something I wanted to make permanent through an executive action, and asked the legislature to make them permanent, they refused, this is a matter of public record. They chose to do it one time. In this session, it looks like they are going to make them permanent.
Obamacare, Romneycare (And, who cares if Massachusetts likes its health care)
Fox News: You have had plenty to say about Romneycare including this quote: "Looking at the Massachusetts experience, it would not be the one I would want for the country to follow any further" A poll showed just weeks ago showed that 84% of Massachusetts's residents are satisfied with the plan. Why isn't that good enough for you?