Former Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty will address the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington today, taking his turn wooing conservative activists a year before the first caucuses in the 2012 presidential race.
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, another undeclared Minnesota Republican with her eye on the prize, took her turn Thursday, warming up the three-day conservative fest with some choice smack about Obama and socialism.
Expect Pawlenty’s presentation to be a little bit less strident. His aides released excerpts (precerpts?) indicating he’ll talk about restoring America's greatness by restoring American “common sense,” drawing on his blue-collar upbringing and conservative record.
They say his speech will detail his conservative victories in a liberal state, and call on to Washington make similar tough choices. He'll reject an increase in the debt ceiling, instead calling for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget, repeal of Obamacare, and an overhaul of the Federal tax code.
As is his wont, Pawlenty will play to the conservative audience by reminding them where he comes from. One line in his speech, as prepared for delivery:
Of course, the government spenders come with excuses. ... I know something about the spenders -- and I know something about difficult. I'm from the state of McCarthy, Mondale, Humphrey, Wellstone, and now -- United States Senator Al Franken. But we cut government in Minnesota, and if we can do it there, we can do it anywhere. ...
There’s also this one, which he’s used in Washington recently:
Just because we followed Greece into democracy, does not mean we need to follow them into bankruptcy.
Pawlenty also plans to highlight his budget battles with Minnesota DFLers, invoking the dreaded ‘s’ word, as in government shutdown:
It wasn’t easy. I set a record for vetoes in my state. Vetoed billions of dollars of tax and spending increases. Had the first government shutdown in Minnesota’s history. Took one of the longest transit strikes in the country’s history to get public employee benefits under control. And, in the last budget period, I cut spending in real terms for the first time in the history of my state.
The federal government should do the same.