Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, a probable G-O-P presidential candidate, says President Obama “whiffed” last week by failing to adequately address the nation’s fiscal crisis. “It’s a matter of eighth grade mathematics. I mean, you can look at the spending; you can look at the revenue; they don’t add up,” Pawlenty says.
“…President Obama doesn’t get it. The amount of money that he proposed to reduce over the next 10 years is a spit in the ocean. It’s a joke. He stepped up to the plate at the State of the Union the other night to address the country and he swung and missed. I mean, the biggest issue facing the country is the out-of-control spending and deficits in government and he completely whiffed it.”
Pawlenty is laying the groundwork for a 2012 presidential campaign and he spent about an hour at a Christian bookstore in Ankeny Sunday afternoon signing copies of his book. A reporter asked Pawlenty if he had the “fire in the belly” to run.
“This morning I woke up at five to get my daughter to volleyball by seven, Jay, so the thing I felt in my belly was a bowl of Raisin Bran,” Pawlenty joked. The former governor saved his rhetorical fire for President Obama.
“The country’s in big trouble and we need some people who are concerned about that who are willing to rise up and be strong and be clear about how we got into this mess and help lead out of it and I’ve got some experience in Minnesota tackling those kinds of issues and I think that the country could benefit from understanding the Minnesota experience,” Pawlenty said. “But also the leadership that you’ve got to bring to bear as the next president of the United States, if I choose to run or whoever that is, is going to have to do some very difficult things, so you’d better be the kind of person that has your compass set.”
Among the tough decisions Pawlenty advocates: raising the retirement age for Social Security for younger workers and “means testing” that would grant larger cost-of-living increases to low and middle-income retirees who’re getting Social Security compared to the elderly who are wealthy.