By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
At the Western Conservative Action Coalition meeting on Friday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty stressed his right-wing bone fides, according to a report from a conservative new outlet.
In both his dinner address and in an interview with me earlier on Friday (October 16), the 49-year-old Pawlenty went to great lengths to emphasize his conservative credentials. Regarding rumors floating around that he supported the “cap and trade” legislation that passed the House and is now before the Senate, the governor said no way.
“I wrote a letter to our congressional delegation urging them to oppose cap and trade,” he told me, “I do believe we should all take reasonable steps to reduce pollution. But don’t wreck the economy and that’s what would happen with the cap-and-trade scheme.” Pawlenty went on to say there were “tremendous opportunities” that should be explored for dealing with the energy shortage that are also environmentally sound, citing the development of newfound natural gas in West Virginia.
Pawlenty clearly pressed all the right buttons with conservatives in his remarks: calling for the removal of Rep. Charles Rangel (D.-NY) as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee (“If you or I overlooked reporting $600,000 in income, we’d be cleaning litter up in cell bloc D”); saying the best thing about the “cash for clunkers” program was that “it got a bunch of cars with Barack Obama stickers off the road;” contrasting his own record of cutting state taxes and bring spending down to sub-inflation levels with Obama’s free-spending agenda (“If we’re out of money, Mr. President, stop spending it!”).
Pawlenty's political spokesman offered this brief glimpse of the governor in California via YouTube:
Note that in the few minute spot, Pawlenty used the word "conservative" several times, mentioned late President Ronald Reagan and took a hit at the media. Not a bad tally for a 2 minute 25 second clip.
Later this week, Pawlenty will go to Washington, D.C. for his first fundraiser for his new Freedom First political action committee. While technically, he can't use the PAC money to fund a run for president in 2012, its formation is widely seen as a registration of his interest in a national bid.
The fundraiser, on Oct. 22, invites attendees to give or raise $5,000 to join a "leadership dinner." Hosts are invited to give $500, sponsors $50 and Capitol Hill staffers can get in for $25 with an id.
The invitation, which you can see here, has a hefty list of hosts, including those who were heavily involved in previous presidental campaigns.