Bob Von Sternberg and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, now running for president, said that both the shutdown he oversaw in 2005 and the one now happening were the fault of Democrats during a stop at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport Thursday night.
Although he blamed DFL Gov. Mark Dayton for the current shutdown, Pawlenty did not take responsibility for the 2005 government closure.
"The equivalence is this both in '05 and now -- You had Democrats demanding that we raise taxes and raise spending, " Pawlenty said.
In 2005, the shutdown ended with Pawlenty inking a budget deal that included what he called a "health impact fee," but most called a cigarette tax.
He said he bore no responsibility for the $5 billion deficit economists projected he left behind and the current lawmakers and governor are working to close. He said the deficit is "a projected deficit" based on spending he would not have approved.
The former governor met with the press at the airport because he had just flown in from a campaign swing in Florida.