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Attacks on Pawlenty show he’s a serious contender

Some in the conservative and progressive camps have harped on former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s reluctance to attack former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s healthcare program to a point where the criticism is suspect. At least it’s suspect if you consider the treatment President Barack Obama is getting right now.

Libya? ObamaCare waivers? Setting a world record for federal spending while unemployment remains higher than the rosy picture painted during Obama’s presidential campaign? Green jobs and not the kind that pay off for the US economy? Skyrocketing electricity and food bills? Foreign policy run amok? Regulatory hell? You could fill a notebook with disasters and Democrats know it.

Pawlenty spoke at the Right Online Conference in Minneapolis on June 18, and judging by the applause, he was well-received.

Pawlenty singled out two issues as “paramount”—getting our financial house in order and getting prosperity restored. He reminded the audience the US government takes in about $2.2 trillion in revenue but spends $3.7 trillion and Pawlenty sees the writing on the wall—“It’s the biggest slow motion crash in the history of American finance,” he said.

Pawlenty was very natural on the stage Saturday. He moved as he spoke. He didn’t use a teleprompter or notes. He spoke from the heart with an earnestness we don’t see in many presidential candidates. His heartland roots are key here—Pawlenty wasn’t born with a silver spoon.

As I researched GOP candidates, it seemed to me Pawlenty has a genuine affection for the American people and a connection that reminds me of President Ronald Reagan. If you watch videos of Reagan speaking, you’ll realize Reagan wasn’t a rock star orator. He didn’t loom from the stage like some hellfire and brimstone preacher. Instead, he spoke rationally and he spoke from the heart.

Pawlenty’s polling fell after the RomneyCare moment, but there’s ample time for that polling to rise. Pawlenty's numbers are rising on his Facebook page, and recent announcements suggest he'll ramp up his Web efforts.

On ‘Meet the Press’ on Sunday, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin appeared to agree with me. She acknowledged Pawlenty is being “lambasted” over that debate moment. However, Goodwin also pointed out, “When we say at the beginning, ‘Oh, they’ve undone themselves,’ we forget how early it is.” She did point out people are looking for “forcefulness,” but many more debates are to come. I suspect we’ll see plenty of “forcefulness” as the campaign season ripens.

One of Pawlenty’s greatest assets is his message of unity, and that is sorely needed in our country divided at the moment by progressive-inspired class warfare.

Pawlenty has been attacked by Obama strategists as well as some Republicans who are backing a different candidate.

That tells me he’s being taken very seriously by his opponents on both sides of the aisle.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/June 20, 2011)

Related/Source Articles

Pawlenty gains traction, touches White House nerve (The US Report)

Economist Taylor: Pawlenty target makes a great deal of sense (The US Report)

Video of Gov. Pawlenty’s speech at Right Online (America for Pawlenty grassroots Facebook group)

Tim Pawlenty impresses at Right Online (Red State)

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