WASHINGTON (AP) — “Truth” was Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s buzzword Monday when he announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he will tell the truth about hard choices facing the nation while others — President Barack Obama notably among them — do not.

A parsing of Pawlenty’s opening-day statements shows they were not the whole truth.

Here is a sampling of his claims Monday and how they compare with the facts.


PAWLENTY: “The truth is, people getting paid by the taxpayers shouldn’t get a better deal than the taxpayers themselves. That means freezing federal salaries, transitioning federal employee benefits, and downsizing the federal work force as it retires.” — Campaign announcement.

THE FACTS: A federal pay freeze is already in effect. Obama proposed and Congress approved a two-year freeze on the pay of federal employees, exempting the armed forces, Congress and federal courts.


PAWLENTY: “ObamaCare is unconstitutional.” — USA Today column.

THE FACTS: Obama’s health care overhaul might be unconstitutional in Pawlenty’s opinion, but it is not in fact unless the Supreme Court says so. Lower court rulings have been split.


PAWLENTY: “Barack Obama has consistently stood for higher taxes.” — Campaign announcement.

THE FACTS: Obama’s record shows more tax cutting than tax raising. The stimulus plan early in his presidency cut taxes broadly for the middle class and business, and more recently he won a substantial cut in Social Security taxes for a year. He also campaigned in support of extending the Bush-era tax cuts for all except the wealthy, whose taxes he wanted to raise. In office, he accepted a deal from Republicans extending the tax cuts for all. As for tax increases, Obama won congressional approval to raise them on tobacco and tanning salons. The penalty for those who don’t buy health insurance, once coverage is mandatory, is a form of taxation.


PAWLENTY: “For decades before I was elected, governors tried and failed to get Minnesota out of the top 10 highest-taxed states in the country. I actually did it.” — Campaign announcement.

THE FACTS: Minnesota remains among the 10 worst states in its overall tax climate, according to the Tax Foundation. In its 2011 State Business Tax Climate Index, the anti-tax organization ranks Minnesota 43rd, making it the eighth worst state. The ranking slipped from 41st two years earlier. The index considers corporate, individual, sales, unemployment insurance and property taxes.


PAWLENTY: “I stood up to the teachers unions and established one of the first statewide performance pay systems in the country.” — Campaign announcement.

THE FACTS: The system may be statewide, but it is voluntary and most school districts have not joined. Out of the 340 school districts and charter schools in the state, with 830,000 students, 104 districts and charter schools serving 254,592 students are currently enrolled in the performance-pay program.


PAWLENTY: “There’s only four governors in the country that got an A grade from the tough-grading Cato Institute for fiscal management. I was one of them.” — ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

THE FACTS: Cato may be a tough grader, but it is hardly objective. The institute holds staunch libertarian views, including a passion for smaller government, and graded governors in 2010 according to their success in cutting taxes and spending. Pawlenty tied for third with Democratic Gov. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, behind South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both Republicans.


PAWLENTY: “I could stand here and tell you that we can solve America’s debt crisis and fix our economy without making any tough choices. But we’ve heard those kinds of empty promises before.”

THE FACTS: Although politicians typically talk about the need for hard choices, Pawlenty actually does name several. He proposes to phase out ethanol and corporate subsidies, raise the Social Security retirement age for young workers and restrain cost of living increases for Social Security recipients who are wealthy.

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

Comments (48)
  1. susan says:

    Its about time the rest of the nation hears about Pawlenty. Those of us in Mn
    got pawlenty of nothing when he was govenor of the state, while he got plenty!!

  2. Frank says:

    A politician telling half truths to their benefit is nothing new. Notice what Pawlenty can’t claim. He cannot claim he expanded jobs in Minnesota. Northwest went under on his watch. The Ford people listened to him and announced a plant closing He cannot claim he creatively solved a budget problem in terms of saying we spent less and got better results. He can claim to have seen the world with his wife on trade missions or visiting the troops. All Pawlenty can do is blow more wind.

    1. Dan says:

      FYI Northwest Airlines did NOT go under, they merged with Delta Airlines to become one of the largest airlines in the world. (speaking of half-truths) The employees at Northwest after the merger saw an increase in pay and QOL. None of it had anything to do with Pawlenty, btw. He did an excellent job as Governor in my opinion. An un-employment rate well below the national average, and one of the top ranked education systems in the country. Trust me, we could be A LOT worse off.

      1. Jane says:

        Believe me, he had NOTHING to do with the state of Minnesota being one of the top ranked education systems in the country. That honor rests with the good teachers of Minnesota who continued to do excellent work while he looked for ways to dismantle the unions and handicap them every way possible. Its hard to believe how we could be worse off. He took the good state of Minnesota backwards.
        No thanks, Tim, we don’t want anymore of your version of ‘the truth.”

        1. Dan says:

          I’m not a teacher, so I can’t really speak to how miserable your lives are, teaching in this state. I just see the national rankings at the end of our 2 term governor’s time in office, that’s what I was basing my opinion on. Of course the ranking is directly related to how well the teachers do their jobs. But I would say that it is indirectly related to how well the politicians do their jobs, providing the teachers with what they need. We have some great teachers in the state, and I had some great teachers when I was a student.
          It’s not that hard to believe how we could be worse off. Take a weekend trip to Detroit or California, talk to some realestate agents down in Las Vegas. Could be WAY worse, believe me. As much as the libs hate Pawlenty, our state is not in nearly as bad of shape as they make it out to be.

  3. sabrina says:

    I don’t think we have to worry about Pawlenty being president. His speech was a big yawner and there were more trees in attendance than people!!

  4. Crystal Charley says:

    Someone at CCO is in trouible for an article critical of Timmy the Twerp. That is not done on the right wing station. Why do they now say he is running for president? He has been running for years but this station ignored the fact.

    1. Comrade Lenin and Chairman Mao says:

      If WCCO were right wing we would not be listening to and endorsing it.

      Comrade Lenin and Chairman Mao

  5. curly says:

    So much for that whole tell the truth thing. Tim Pinnochio aka tea paw

  6. curly says:

    So his claims were about as honest as the fake southern twang he used to announce his speech. I hope he does get to run against Obama….Obama will eat him for breakfast.

  7. Marie Pearle says:

    This whole article is skewed to the Liberal side. Everyone who can read the Constitution knows that Obamacare is not constitutional. The govt. can’t force you to buy something to exist.

    Also, pray tell, what is going to happen to all the homeless with no money? Will they all be thrown in jail for not being able to purchase Obamacare, and what then will happen with the totally unnecessary overcrowding of prisons?

    I have yet to see any politician answer that one.

    1. Marie the Wacko says:

      If we follow the lead of the republicans in this state, I’d have to ask WHAT homeless? They don’t exist anymore. That must be why the answer to our budget problem is to take away all of their medical and assistance programs. And now you’re concerned about what national healthcare would mean to them?

      They’re PEOPLE not pawns. They would be guaranteed health care not cut off from it like the current threat. There is no jail threats in the new act, and there are subsidies and waivers for those that can not legitimately afford it.

      Sorry for feeding the troll, but I couldn’t resist.

      1. No Pearles of Wisdom there says:

        The troll needed it and lots more – thanks!

    2. Chris says:

      Prisons are already overcrowding thanks to the war on drugs.

    3. Sam says:

      Your question was answered. In the bill itself.
      Anyone who can read the health care overhaul would know that there are exemptions in it for those who can’t afford to pay for health care.

      As for the overhaul being unconstitutional, I don’t know where in the Constitution it says anything about that, and I’ve read the Constitution.
      And if it _does_ say that, then the very idea of our government is unconstitutional. If the government funds a military, a police force, a crew to fix my street, the pastries in the Congress coffee lounge, or anything else, then I am being forced to buy something.

    4. You're already Paying says:

      For Marie and others who want to say that buying healthcare is unconstitutional, would you prefer that we just call it optional? Buy it or don’t, I don’t care. But if you don’t buy it, and you get sick or get cancer, don’t come and ask for any healthcare, you opted out. Those who don’t want to pay should be DENIED all health services. Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you aren’t already paying for those who choose to not pay. High healthcare costs are caused by the high number of non-paying people who get their care for free, courtesy of YOU.

    5. JLG says:

      Aren’t we forced to buy car insurance?

  8. Tim Pawlenty for President says:

    We’re behind you, Tim.

    1. A Voter says:

      What do you mean we, do you have a mouse in your pocket?

    2. Truth says:

      You may be, but I’m certainly not!

  9. billybaroo says:

    I’m behind Timmy….waaaaaay behind, so far behind that I don’t want to see him. He was a Gov joke, so he thinks he can run an entire nation!!!

    1. Lori says:

      Exactly, what a joke he is. A spindly twerp!

  10. tuna-free dolphin says:

    It must be annoying for the media to be pulled away from kissing the Messiah’s feet, to have to run to his defense. All they do when they’re not prostrate before their savior, is run interference for him. The only thing that’s transparent about Obama are the motives of his cheerleaders in the media.

    1. Lisa says:

      So you’re one of those still bending your backside over for Bush and kissing his feet. Gotta keep that negative attitude alive and well and moving on don’t you?
      Look for the bad and thats what you’ll get. You must be a fun one to live with.

    2. kyle says:

      The AP saw a potential candidate and had to go in for the attack. Will they/do they examine every word that comes out in an Obama speech-Nope. Will they-Nope.

      1. Owen says:

        When you see only what you want to see the answer to your question on Obama is no. You and Tuna might want to try reading more than one source for a change.

    3. Bubba says:

      @ Tuna. You must be a Pawlenty supporter. Can I ask you what great things happened from all the trade missions Pawlenty took while governor? He took quite a few trips. Anything he can hang his hat on after 8 years that the state was doing better than when he left? Job growth in 8 years? Any new companies come in because he had the selling skill to get people here?

    4. Get Real says:

      Tuna freak, What channel are you watching?
      I pity you ditto-heads that allow yourselves to be brainwashed into thinking the mainstream media has a collective agenda. Sadly, you lie prostrate before your savior, FOX news, and believe whatever bulls*it they feed you. Rupert Murdoch and FOX news are 100 times more guilty than the mainstream media of manipulating their viewers with deceptive half truths, and often outright lies. Like satan, they’ll tell you whatever you need to hear. But this debate will never end, as long as anyone allows a greater entity to do their thinking for them. You are what you eat!

  11. Vote for anyone but him! says:

    Speak for yourself! I’m certainly not behind him!

  12. Timmy the Liar says:

    But they forgot the biggest lie. That he ran a balanced budget for all 8 years he was here. I would sure like to know how he thinks Dayton managed to lose 6 BILLION dollars before he was sworn in.

    Timmy is a LIAR. Plain and SIMPLE. – kinda like him – PLAIN and SIMPLE.
    Notice everyone that talks about his “truth” campaign puts the word truth in quotes!

  13. GOING 2 LOOSE!! says:


  14. Oh Pleeeeease! says:

    Bored to tears. Have seen more hype for high school student senate races.

    T-paw – no tax increases? the 8 years before you became Gov – MN Property taxes had risen about $700 million – your 8 years they rose over $2.3 billion. Looks to me like a 300% increase on your watch.

    I could balance my family’s budget very easily also if I could take money from the tobacco settlement. Oh, and take a bunch from the state school districts’ rainy-day funds (and not plan to return those funds any time soon) – people wonder why the school districts are laying off teachers? They put money aside to get them through bad financial times (what the state once did) but had those funds taken to make the balance sheet look better.

    And if I tell my creditors that I don’t plan on paying my bills on time because I need to have my balance sheet look good – that will fly like a lead balloon. Didn’t work out so well for MN either – had our bond rating dropped and that’s costing the state more money by paying higher interest rates on money we borrow.

    I suspect T-paws chances will end up laying on the ground shriveled this fall, just like the decaying leaves from the trees.

    1. Chuck says:

      But, remember that the legistlature worked that arrangment out with him too….
      Everyone knew that it was a temporary fix, so now it gets twisted around…
      That was not T-paw’s first choice… Maybe Dayton will have to get creative too.

      1. Karl says:

        Ah but remember even further back how the legislature passed a balanced budget that Pawlenty vetoed so he could use unallotment which is a terrible abuse of power.

  15. Skip says:

    A politician telling the truth is like a monkey whistling Dixie. Not going to happen. Lying for a politician is standard fair.

  16. yep says:

    Typical politician to me. I hate how he acts like he didn’t raise taxes though. My taxes went up with him as Governor. It may have been local taxes but it started at the top with him.

  17. 76 and Voting! says:

    The eight years that Pawlenty was iin office my homeowners taxes went up every year. Our home depreciated but taxes went up. His hour Friday radio show on WCCO was such a joke and the comment he made about his wife not being good in bed was a total disgrace and the station thought that was cute, YUK!!! He spent more time running around the country than governing. I am glad that he is running for the Republicans because the Democrats have more class and care about the people that they govern.

    1. Dan says:

      yeah, some of these comments are showing just how much class the democrats have. Name-calling to get your point across, really?

  18. Jake says:

    This is hilarious. While one can take a critical view of Pawlenty, this “article” is a list of talking points by his opponents. Beside that, none of it is even objective. The anonymous “reporter” decides he or she will use a different set of assumptions to “prove” Pawlenty’s claims are false. They don’t. They only prove that the author doesn’t like Pawlenty, and will use a different set of assumptions to discredit him.

    The most damning part of the article is the headline. I am disappointed in wcco.com for using it on the site. Again, being critical is the media’s responsibility. That’s cool. But inclusion of clear bias as “reporting” on the left is as lacking in integrity as what Glenn Beck does on the other side.

    1. Those aren't talking points Jake says:

      Jake, how is this a list of “talking points”? After reading your comment, I re-read the article. Every response to TPaw’s statements begin THE FACTS:, and goes on to state specific data. Factual data is not “talking points”. Are you trying to say that the reporter lied? The reporter doesn’t have the correct data? TPaw says he got MN out of the top 10 taxed states, and the reporter counters with “Minnesota remains among the 10 worst states in its overall tax climate”. Those aren’t talking points, they are factual corrections to TPaws…… Lies. You want to call them assumptions, but facts aren’t assumptions. TPaw is more guilty of stretching data to make himself sound good than the reporter is of discrediting him.

    2. WHAT????? says:

      How you take facts and say that they are “opinions” is lacking integrity. MN’s ranking in taxing throughout the 50 states, that is not a fact? How many schools participate in the performance pay, that is not a fact? What is actually stated in Obama’s health care plan, that is not a fact? I forgot though that would detail people actually reading the info than just watching someone on the news and listening for the key talking points. I do like how you are honest enough to call Glen Beck out for what he is but come on, you cannot look at facts and say they are liberal bias. I am not a Dem or Rep but you still have to understand that what a politician has to say is going to come back to haunt them when they lie on TV or when doing an interview. I for 1 love the fact that people like John Stewart show when someone is double talking and that is what people need right now. Are you telling me that even when people like John have video clips of TPaw double talking that they are also liberal bias and lies? They must edit the film somehow huh? Nothing wrong with stating your opinion but 1s again you cannot just call something a lie and it becomes 1, you just look like the liar.

  19. Janice says:

    Unfortunately what the rest of the country has to gauge MN by is Pawlenty and Bachmann. Two absolute jokes that are an embarrassment to the state. Hopefully the national press will cover their lies and inaction as well as the various local press entities have. “Pants on Fire” is the only rating both have.

    1. Dan says:

      Hey, don’t forget about Franken. I’m sure the rest of the country believes him to be a serious politician that can do no wrong. I’ll bet the rest of our country had total disrespect for Minnesota after electing Pawlenty and Bachmann, but then we elected Franken, I’m sure that turned everything around.

  20. WHAT????? says:

    I guess I would take Franken over you as he at least has an education. Let me know 1 thing he has done to put the state down at all. Can you think of anything? Then maybe should not comment on someone who is not rocking the boat, wait I am sorry, I forgot you have to have something to complain about or you have to resort to telling lies and making things up about the President again.
    Did you hear that Obama’s dog does not have a real license? He made the CIA make him a fake and now the dog is in DC illegally working as a ball retriever IN THE WHITE HOUSE!!! That is 1 less job for a dog that was born in the states!!!
    See it is easy to make things up and they sound just as solid as your stupid rants and raves.

    1. Dan says:


      Are you trying to say that I am uneducated? Believe it or not I do have a four year degree from an accredited University,
      I think you missed the point of that last post. I was pointing out that by electing an extremist (Bachmann) and a comedian (Franken) to represent us politically, we did nothing to gain the respect from the rest of our nation. Now about these lies I’ve been telling, please elaborate. I scrolled back through my comments, and I can’t figure out what I lied about.
      As for my “stupid rants and raves” I would say that your paragraph on Obama’s dog license was much more stupid than anything I have said on here. Really, what was that all about?!

      1. Katie says:

        Dan AND What?: If either of you actually has a college education, you aren’t demonstrating that you do by writing a comment that doesn’t even mention Pawlenty in it. Pawlenty IS the subject of the article that the comments are to be about, don’t you know? Who cares about Bachman, Franken, or Porky Pig right now. I’m sick and tired of people hijacking a forum with off topic comments. Get back on topic. Pawlenty gives everyone plenty to talk about!

        Many senior citizens have had to move out of their homes becaus they can’t afford the real estate taxes. That situation was brought about by Pawlenty’s policies. Shame on him for denying seniors the benefit of living in their homes in their old age.

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