Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty gets mixed marks from the Club for Growth, an anti-tax conservative advocacy group, in a white paper released Tuesday on the 2012 presidential candidate.

The group says Pawlenty is “hard to pin down on his exact ideological moorings,” lauding him for keeping spending down and vetoing tax increases but criticizing him for several “inexcusable” tax increases.

“Pawlenty deserves tremendous praise for keeping Minnesota’s spending growth remarkably low,” the group wrote. “For this, and for his consistent stances on school choice, tort reform, and political free speech, he deserves credit.”

“However,” the paper continues, “Pawlenty has some simply inexcusable tax hikes in his record, and he made a mistake by taking no clear position on the 2008 Legacy Amendment.”

The group also dings Pawlenty for his support of cap and trade, ethanol and a statewide smoking ban.

You can read the full report on Pawlenty’s record here. The group examines his record on everything from taxes and spending to school choice and political free speech.

Club for Growth, which grades congressional lawmakers annually, plans to release a paper on all the presidential candidates.

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