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Statement by Governor Pawlenty "Real Change is About Telling Hard Truths"

May 23, 2011

In the third year of Barack Obama's presidency, unemployment is at unbearable levels, gas and food prices are skyrocketing and federal government spending is out of control. "ObamaCare" is unconstitutional, and it is already driving up health costs — not reducing them.

The president's policies simply aren't working. And more than that, he won't even tell us the truth about the problems we're facing and what it's really going to take to get America back on the right track.

As a candidate for president, it would be easy for me to just tell the American people we can solve our debt crisis and fix our economy without making any tough choices. But we have now seen where that type of leadership gets us.

Leadership isn't about fancy speeches and empty promises. It's not about telling people just what they want to hear. It's about telling the truth. Like too many Washington politicians, President Obama governs with an eye toward the next election, at the expense of the next generation. He would rather pretend there is no crisis and attack those who are willing to stand up and try to solve it rather than risk doing anything about it himself.

In Washington, they call that "smart politics." But I'm not from Washington.

Success at the state level

As Minnesota's governor for the last eight years, our state's big-government legacy presented me with smaller-scale versions of the problems President Obama found in Washington. But my solutions — and my results — were very different.

I signed a budget that actually reduced state spending in real terms for the first time in the 150-year history of our state. I led the charge to move Minnesota out of the Top 10 highest-tax states. I passed market-based health care reforms and introduced merit pay for our teachers.

It wasn't easy. We had a brief government shutdown and had one of America's longest-ever public employee strikes. I also set a record for vetoes and for using executive power to force spending cuts. We balanced every budget during my time as governor while cutting state taxes.

That type of leadership is very different from what we have in the White House, and my campaign for president will be different, too.

I'm going to try something a little unusual in politics. I'm just going to tell the truth. Washington is broken, our country is going broke, and our long-term financial outlook will make the pain of the recent recession pale in comparison.

It's long past time for America's president — and anyone who wants to be president — to be straight with the American people.

So here it is: Government money isn't "free." Either you and I pay for it in taxes, or our children pay for it in debt. The reforms we need are not in the billions, but in the trillions of dollars. And the cuts we must make cannot just be in other people's favorite programs.

That's why later this week I'm going to New York City to tell Wall Street that if I'm elected, the era of bailouts and handouts for big banks is over. I'm going to Florida to tell both young people and seniors that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path and have to be changed. And, today, I'm in Iowa to speak truthfully about farm subsidies.

Obama's hopeless hype

Conventional political wisdom says that it's better to tell people what they want to hear, rather than what they need to hear. But conventional political wisdom is what got us into this fiscal mess in the first place. Anyone who can't tell hard truths now won't be able to lead our country in the future. We now know that President's Obama's promise of "hope and change" was just hopeless hype.

The problems facing our nation are severe. But we can overcome them. We will grow our economy if we shrink our government. We will create good jobs if we encourage job creators. And our children will be free to pursue their dreams if we rescue them from our debts.

Together, we will change our country, and this time, it really will be for the better.

Tim Pawlenty, Statement by Governor Pawlenty "Real Change is About Telling Hard Truths" Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/296676

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