Gov Tim Pawlenty: Santorum “A Champion of Pork” + Santorum’s Falsehoods on MA Healthcare

Gov Tim Pawlenty


Thus far in the campaign, Rick Santorum has been tickled to ham up being the one who is above the fray. Well, he wasn’t polling high, hasn’t truly been vetted, and up until his 34-vote win in Iowa, wasn’t getting a lot of attention. Interestingly, Santorum gets plenty bristly-haired during the debates (political pundits note that he comes across as mean), and closer inspection of his record could elicit some real squealing from him.

Yesterday, Governor Tim Pawlenty held an enlightening press conference call which highlighted Santorum’s propensity for pork-barrel spending. Here’s the entire call:

Highlights of the Rick Santorum’s Long History Of Pork-Barrel Spending call:

GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: What I wanted to focus this morning on the notion that Rick Santorum is presenting to caucus attendees in Minnesota and to conservatives beyond that Rick Santorum is really as conservative as those caucus attendees and he’s not. If you look at his record overall there’s a number of things that should be concerning about that record to conservatives. And I’ll just focus this morning on the spending and fiscal aspects of that. Rick Santorum has been a champion of earmarks, when he was both in the House and subsequently in the Senate. He reflected on his time in the House at one point by saying that he is no longer a fiscal hawk. And the reason he cited for no longer being a fiscal hawk is because he wanted to spend the surpluses which is not the philosophy or perspective of somebody that conservatives would look to as a strong, unabashed fiscal hawk. In fact he just admitted and disclaimed that he was no longer a fiscal hawk. And his votes and his behavior in the Congress reflected that drift away from fiscal discipline.

He proudly and enthusiastically embraced earmarking. Some of the more well-known examples of earmarking he supported was the so-called ‘Bridge to Nowhere,’ which was one of the biggest earmark debacles in the modern history of the Congress. He supported things like a polar bear exhibit in Pittsburgh that was federally funding under one of these earmarks. He provided a Philadelphia developer an earmark for a project in the Philadelphia area, and there was a developer that he had some other contacts and associations with. He voted numerous times to raise the debt ceiling and here we as a nation facing fiscal crisis, I mean literally on the edge of the fiscal abyss.

We need a next president who’s been strong and proven in fiscal and spending matters, and we had Rick Santorum voting numerous times to raise the debt ceiling. So, he clearly has been part of the big spending establishment in Congress and in the influence peddling industry that surrounds Congress. He has been part of that. He has been a champion of earmarks, and to hold himself out now as somebody who is an unquestionable conservative in these matters, just is not supported by the facts. So we wanted to call that out this morning as part of his record, part of debate back and forth, and the contrast between these candidates, and Rick Santorum is clearly not as conservative on these matters as Minnesota caucus attendees or Republican or conservative activists and the people who are part of the conservative movement more broadly. So that’s the message we wanted to convey with you this morning, but we also wanted to give you a chance to ask questions or make comments about that topic or others that may be of interests to you, or obviously on the eve of the Minnesota caucuses, as well as other contests around the country tomorrow and the Romney campaign is in full gear as you know and there’s a lot of activity going on, so we’ll be delighted to take your questions on any topic related to those things.

Governor Pawlenty also released this statement yesterday:

“Rick Santorum is a nice guy, but he is simply not ready to be President. Plus, he wants Minnesota conservatives to believe he’s as conservative as they are, but he’s not. As a U.S. Senator, he was a leading earmarker and pork-barrel spender. He described himself as ‘very proud’ of the billions of dollars in pork-barrel projects he championed, and promised to defend the wasteful spending. Even in the face of crushing federal debt, Rick Santorum voted for the infamous ‘Bridge to Nowhere.’ That type of leadership will not help us rein in government and slash the unprecedented federal debt.”

(emphasis added)

Voters need to know about Santorum’s piggy-pork record while serving on Capitol Hill. He loved toting home taxpayer bacon for his state.

By the way, I greatly appreciate Pawlenty’s press conference call and his continuing hard work for Governor Romney.

Disappointingly, Santorum has also been hog-jowled on the campaign trail giving false information about health care in Massachusetts. Click below the fold for a must-read summary from the Romney Press Office:

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Mitt Romney vs. Health Care: “Why RomneyCare Makes Mitt the BEST Nominee to Face Obama”

Part 2 in a developing series of in-depth analysis by Dr. Jeff Fuller (See Part 1 and Part 3)

It’s often revealing to turn conventional wisdom on its head and see what’s really hidden underneath.   You’ve all heard it, I’m sure, that RomneyCare is Mitt’s doom, an albatross around his neck, his biggest weakness as a potential candidate.  In Part 1 of this series I detailed not only how grave some people feel this issue is for Romney’s chances, but also pointed out that Obama and his team of key operatives (Axelrod, Gibbs, and Daley) are all praising RomneyCare as ObamaCare’s predecessor in an effort to hurt Mitt with the GOP’s conservative and libertarian bases.  However,  below I present what a great asset and strength Romney’s history and experience with health care will be to him as a general election candidate against Obama.

Yes . . . for the purposes of this post I am skipping the GOP primary altogether and how health care will effect that outcome.  Don’t worry, I will address those issues thoroughly in later installments of this series.  But sometimes it’s important to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the carrot at the end of the stick, to give a proper and more accurate assessment of the situation one is currently in.  Winning the GOP nomination and imagining how well Mitt could tackle Obama on health care is that light/pot/carrot.  Some Mitt fans or fence-sitters may be guilty of hand wringing and fretting over how RomneyCare might really be the big problem that so many are saying it will be.  This post is for you folks in particular.  

First off, it’s always wise to take a step back and look at the big picture.  Health Care promises to be a big topic in the upcoming 2012 presidential election no doubt . . . but I can guarantee that it will not be the biggest. It never has been the number one issue on people’s minds and I see no reason for that to change (“It’s the Economy Stupid!“). The Exit polls from our most recent election cycle show “The Economy” dominating voter’s hearts and minds:
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Romney was a Tea-partier Before Tea Party was Cool

A point that I’ve long wanted to touch upon, just haven’t had the chance to write it up: Mitt Romney is the embodiment of the conservative principles that the Tea Party so passionately advocates.

A few months ago I expressed the estrangement I felt as a ground-level activist in the Tea Party. Supposed leaders of the Tea Party were coming out against a former Governor I had long admired: Mitt Romney. I was befuddled by this because, knowing his record, I had always considered Mitt Romney a perfect example of what I would want in my leaders — a problem solver who has respect for taxpayer dinero and looks out for the interests of businesses, large and small; an advocate for free-market enterprise and capitalism.

At the rallies I attend, Mitt Romney’s name is often floated as the man with competence enough to take down the Obama machine. Why, then, are ‘leaders’ of this group disparaging a good man’s efforts to make this country great again? I say to them as a fellow Tea-partier: “you do not represent me, nor are you my leaders.” I joined the movement with the understanding that there was no single voice for the Tea Party — that as individuals, we had our own voices, which were to be heard loud and clear through the corridors of Capitol Hill.

The best write-up I’ve seen on this matter comes hot-off-the-press today from Braden at BlogCritics.org: Dear Tea Party, Mitt Romney is Your Friend

Braden dissects Mitt Romney’s record and explains why, in fact, Mitt Romney was a Tea-partier before the Tea Party was cool.

Based on issues alone, it would be logical to conclude that Mitt Romney is in agreement with the vast majority of Tea Party principles. He balanced the budget for four consecutive years in a blue state without raising taxes. Isn’t that what the TEA in Tea Party stands for, Taxed Enough Already? The very premise of the Tea Party movement is in accordance with Romney’s record.

On Massachusetts Health Care:

RomneyCare, signed into law by Romney in 2006, is a state-based healthcare plan with striking similarities to ObamaCare. However, unlike ObamaCare, RomneyCare did not raise taxes. But the bigger and more important difference is that RomneyCare was a state program and not a federal one. If states’ rights and federalism are truly important to the Tea Party, they would readily recognize this distinction. And on top of all this, Romney has consistently voiced his support for the repeal of ObamaCare.

On Abortion “Flip-Flop”:

Well, considering that he flipped (not flopped) his position to pro-life, wouldn’t that mean that the majority of the Tea Party should agree with him now? Changing positions on the issue of life isn’t uncommon in either party. Both Jesse Jackson and Al Gore became pro-choice after previously being pro-life. Republicans like George H.W. Bush, Henry Hyde, and some would even say Ronald Reagan each had somewhat pro-choice pasts before becoming pro-life. And besides, it would be difficult for the Tea Party to claim success with a pro-choice candidate like Scott Brown while pointing the finger at Romney.

On Mitt Romney’s Mormon Religion:

True, Romney’s Mormon faith may be outside of the mainstream and considered unusual at best by some evangelicals. But by and large, basic Mormon values and morality are essentially identical to those of evangelical voters. Aside from doctrinal differences, what legitimate political problem would they have with a Mormon president?

Summary: Mitt Romney’s Recent Efforts for the Conservative Movement

He has also written op-eds expressing dissatisfaction with Obama’s policies. These articles should naturally curry favor among conservatives of all stripes who would like to unseat Obama in 2012.

Furthermore, Romney consistently polls ahead of or in a dead heat with Obama. He also garners more support among independents than other Republicans; and in some cases, he fares better than Obama does among that demographic.

If the Tea Party is interested in winning against Obama in 2012, perhaps they should give Romney another look. A united coalition of conservatives behind a candidate like him would be devastating to Obama.

Frankly, there’s little reason for the Tea Party to find dissatisfaction with Romney. I suppose a fondness for candidates outside of the so-called “establishment” would cause the Tea Party to lean against Romney. But until a candidate of his stature rises outside of the establishment with comparable credentials, Romney deserves a chance among those in the Tea Party movement. So to those who are afraid of the big bad Romney, remember that he is an ally and not an enemy.

I recommend heading over and reading the article in it’s entirety and spreading this out to your networks… Rapido!

h/t to Doug from MRC Chat.

~Aaronius

Gov Tim Pawlenty to Attend Gov Mitt Romney’s Book Signing

While Mitt Romney continues to impress Americans during the first week of his whirlwind book signing tour for No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, a date in April is worth noting. On April 9, 2010, Romney will address the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota and sign copies of his new book. Present on the same stage will be a Republican notable who some say could be a potential 2012 presidential rival and who has recently been critical of Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan. Neither men have declared intentions to run for the highest office in the land, but both are giving indications of that possibility. Will Gov Tim Pawlenty have a copy of Romney’s new book tucked under his arm? If so, I’m sure Gov Romney will be happy to cordially sign it for him.

Freedom Foundation:

Former Massachusetts Governor and 2008 presidential candidate Mitt Romney will visit the Twin Cities on April 9, 2022 to speak at a dinner sponsored by the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota (FFM) and sign copies of his newly released book. Joining Governor Romney for the event will be Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. The title of Governor Romney’s book is also the topic of his remarks: No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.

“The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota is both honored and excited to host two of our country’s most influential and important conservative leaders,” said Annette Meeks, CEO of the Freedom Foundation. “Governor Romney has been and continues to be one of the most powerful voices advancing free market policy alternatives. We’re planning an exciting evening where Minnesotans will hear Romney’s public policy ideas first hand.

“We are equally excited that Governor Tim Pawlenty will be joining us on April 9th. While Pawlenty’s public policy leadership is no secret to Minnesota conservatives, this will be the first major event where these two American leaders will appear on the same stage – a spectacular opportunity for the Freedom Foundation to highlight two dynamic American leaders.”

The event will be held at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington, beginning with a private reception and dinner. A dessert reception will precede remarks by the two governors with a book signing by Governor Romney to occur at the end of the evening. Registration details can be found at www.freedomfoundationofminnesota.com and tickets must be purchased in advance for all events.

Mitt Romney for President 2012