No Gimmicks: Pawlenty Vows ‘Results, Not Rhetoric’

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GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is busy pounding the pavement, trying to drum up support for his 2012 White House bid.

The former Minnesota governor's most frequent stops have been in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina -- the first three primary states.

Badly in need of name recognition, Pawlenty is working hard to introduce himself to voters and move upward in the polls. 

In order to move out of the single digits, the two-term governor is positioning himself as the one candidate who will not only talk the conservative talk, but walk the walk.

"When we look at this country we have to have people who are not going to just talk about these things, but we need leaders who can actually do them and have done them -- tort reform and welfare reform and so much else," he said. "Not just talking about it but getting it done."

In the first television ad campaign launched by a presidential candidate in Iowa, Pawlenty touts himself as having been a conservative, tax-cutting governor in a liberal state with a Democrat-controlled legislature.

"In a liberal state, I reduced spending in real terms for the first time, took on the government unions and won, appointed a conservative Supreme Court, and passed healthcare reform the right way - no mandates, no takeovers," Pawlenty says in the 30-second spot, called "Results, Not Rhetoric."

"If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington," Pawlenty adds.

Pawlenty, author of the book Courage to Stand, will talk more about his record as Minnesota's governor, Obama's health care law, and his Christian faith on "The 700 Club," June 23. Check your local listings or check after 10 a.m. Thursday.

Read the transcript below:

PR: Please welcome to "The 700 Club." Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty -he's now a GOP presidential hopeful. And, Governor, I'm delighted to have you with us.

TP: Thank you. It's an honor to be here.

PR: Why do you want to be president?

TP:  Well, I think I have the skills and ability and results to lead this country to a better place. And I love America. And we need to do it, it's in trouble.

PR: What do you want to do? After you're inaugurated do you have three things. These are my first goals?

TP: I sure would. Number one we've got to get this economy going because the pathway forward for opportunity is to have jobs, economic opportunity. So I'd announce an economic plan. Two, I'd repeal Obamacare and ask the Congress to do that. I think it's one of the worst pieces of legislation in the modern history of the country. And three, I think we would make some decisions in the area of security and international affairs that send the strong message that we don't equivocate when it comes to our friends around the world, like Israel. And I'd reestablish and reassure that relationship.

PR: What tone would set as a president?

TP: I always tell folks you can't be pro-jobs and anti-business. That's like being pro-egg and anti-chicken. That doesn't work so well. So we have to remember where these jobs come from. They come from people wanting to start and grow businesses.  So this isn't about whether some group in the country is more wealthy, it's about doing those things that make it more likely that jobs will grow. Because that's how most people pay their bills, put gas in their cars, get their groceries, pay their mortgage, pay for college, and we need to be a pro jobs country. Most of the entrepreneurs I speak with say it's too discouraging, it's too expensive, the government is making it too slow, too heavy, too difficult, and they want the load to be lighter, not heavier.

PR: How are we going to get this deficit under control?  It's a 1.6 trillion dollar deficit. What are we going to do?

TP: Well, I was the governor of a very liberal state. And I love my state, it's a beautiful state, but it's quite liberal. It's the land of Mondale, Humphrey, McCarthy, and Wellstone. And now we have U.S. Senator Al Franken. And I was the first movement conservative.

PR: It's a crazy place. They've got a pro wrestler as a former governor and a professional comedian as a senator. I mean what is it with Minnesota?

TP: Well, we were able to make big changes there, as a conservative, on taxes, and pensions and school reform and much more. one of the leadership lessons I learned is that there are times when you have to draw a line in the sand. And this is one of those lines in the sand moments. And I hope and pray that they won't raise the debt ceiling. And if they do, I hope they'll make permanent structural changes, a balanced budget constitutional amendment, caps on spending that are real and specific.

PR: I enjoyed your book Courage to Stand. You came out of a working class background. What was your father doing? What was his job?

TP: Most of his life he was a truck driver. Later in life he got promoted to be dispatcher. We thought as a family we had hit the jackpot. And then later he even got promoted to terminal manager and we were very proud of that. But I think my first paycheck out of law school was bigger than his last paycheck, so that was quite dramatic. He was a good man.

PR: Did he inspire you to get educated, go to college, that sort of thing?

TP: He did, but my mom was really the driving force there. She died when I was 16 of ovarian cancer. I was the youngest of five children, and just a short time before she passed on she summoned my brothers and sisters to her bedside and she made them look her in the eye and promise her that they would do everything they could to get me to college. They couldn't go, not because they lacked the capacity, they just didn't have the opportunity. So my mom's dying wish was to get me to college.

PR: Were you the baby?

TP: Yes, I'm the baby.

PR: All those children were going to get together and get you to college?

TP: And they did. My mom was a great woman and a leader in our family, but that was one of her dreams, to get one of her children to college.

PR: Your wife -- is she a lawyer like you?

TP: She was, but she's moved on to other things. We met in law school. She really was instrumental in transforming my faith life, and opened that up to me in ways that were profoundly important for me, and still does to this day.

PR:  Your faith has played a big role in your life, hasn't it?

TP: It sure has. I was raised Catholic. When Mary and I met, she came from a Baptist tradition. So as we were getting married and getting serious about that, I wanted to reconcile our faith lives and she did, too. So I started attending her church. But, you know, she led me to the Lord and was a powerful leader and mentor in that journey for me. And I think if you met her, you would be impressed. She's joyful. She believes what we believe. And she's a tremendous voice for the Lord.

PR: Running for pres is a terrible burden on a family. Is she with you on that?

TP: She sure is. You know we have two teenaged daughters, one's 18 and one's 14. One of them drives and they both like boys. So they need supervision and Mary can't always be with me on the road. But she comes when she can and she strongly believes that this is important for the country and has the same values that we do.

PR: You were a prosecuting attorney, then you were the majority leader in the House of Representatives in Minnesota and then... Did it look like you were going to win for governor?

TP:  No it didn't look like I was going to win. It's a blue state, and I didn't have much money, and people didn't give me much of a chance of winning. When I started running I did this little tour around the country in a two-seater plane and not many people showed up and it was a little discouraging. I got home and changed out of my suit, and into my coach's shirt to go coach my daughter's soccer team. And when I got there, the little 7-year old girls came up to me and said "Are you running for governor?" And I thought, wow, this campaigning really works. I've only been out for a day and it's already permeated the minds of these 7 year olds. And I kind of pridefully puffed up and said, "Yeah, I'm running for governor." And this one little girl looked up at me and said, "Cool! Do you think you can get me Jesse Ventura's autograph?" (both laugh.)

PR: You also love hockey. Do you still play?

TP:  I'm 50 now. I'm old and slow, but I do play. It's a great sport. I tell people it's like human pinball.

PR: Do you get hurt playing?

TP: Well, it can be brutal, but in my old men's league, as we call it, you can't check, although we do fall down.

PR:  The book is called Courage to Stand by Tim Pawlenty, two-term governor of Minnesota and now candidate for president of the United States. Thanks for being with us.

--Originally aired June 22, 2011.

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David Brody

David Brody

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David Brody is an Emmy Award-winning veteran news journalist who has interviewed many prominent national figures during his career of nearly 25 years. Currently, David covers the White House and interviews national newsmakers across the country.  Follow David on Twitter @TheBrodyFile and "like" him at