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In Florida, Pawlenty Calls For Entitlement Reform

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Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty talks to reporters after signing copies of his new book, "Courage to Stand," at the Family Christian Book Store January 30, 2011 in Ankeny, Iowa. Pawlenty is eyeing a run for the GOP presidential nomination and has made several trips to Iowa, which will be holding its famous "first in the nation" caucus in about a year. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty talks to reporters after signing copies of his new book, “Courage to Stand,” at the Family Christian Book Store January 30, 2011 in Ankeny, Iowa. Pawlenty is eyeing a run for the GOP presidential nomination and has made several trips to Iowa, which will be holding its famous “first in the nation” caucus in about a year. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty is calling for fundamental changes in Social Security and other entitlement programs during a visit to senior-rich Florida.

The former Minnesota governor said Tuesday that entitlement programs are not sustainable.

Pawlenty says if elected he would push to gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security and phase out cost-of-living increases for wealthier Social Security recipients.

Pawlenty said current retirees or those close to retiring wouldn’t be affected.

The White House hopeful is billing himself as the candidate who will be blunt with voters about solutions to major issues.

Pawlenty won praise from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Twitter after a speech in Iowa corn country advocating a phase-out of the ethanol subsidy. Bush’s tweet said he admired Pawlenty’s truth-telling.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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