Gov. Pawlenty was in St. Charles, Missouri tonight to talk to roughly 500 GOP activists at the Missouri Republican Party's Lincoln Days Dinner. He blasted federal spending in Washington D.C., criticized President Obama's foreign policy and urged Republicans to stick to their conservative principles.
It was mostly Pawlenty's standard stump speech. He even included the now familiar cell phone jokes and the "I didn't think you were going to win" story from his wife.
Pawlenty may also be trying out a new big tent strategy calling for Republicans to consider themselves "constitutional conservatives" first.
"We talk a lot about being Tea Party conservatives or Reagan conservatives or mainstream conservatives or common sense conservatives," Pawlenty said. "Those are all good words but I hope we realize that first and foremost and all of the other phrases that we build upon, that we are first constitutional conservatives in this country."
Pawlenty also repeated the now debunked statement that President Obama was using a teleprompter in a grade school classroom.
Here's Pawlenty's speech (he was introduced by Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder): Listen
Side Note: The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Pawlenty also held a fundraiser for GOP Rep. Roy Blunt's Senate run.
Pawlenty told reporters after his speech that the Missouri Republican Party paid for his trip.
Pawlenty is scheduled to be in Las Vegas, NV on Saturday. While he's out of state, some of his surrogates will continue to negotiate with Democrats in the Legislature on a possible fix to General Assistance Medical Care. DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher says the House will attempt the override of Pawlenty's veto of GAMC on Monday.
The Pi Press reports that one House Republican, Keith Downey of Edina, will vote to sustain Pawlenty's veto but blasted Pawlenty in an e-mail to a constituent:
While I will uphold the Governor's veto, I sure hope the rhetoric tones down once he returns to Minnesota. Accusations of "irresponsible spending" and one-liners about writing checks with no money in the bank lack credibility and would have to apply equally to the Governor's own GAMC fix which costs taxpayers almost twice as much per person and bankrupts the Health Care Access Fund in 2011, and to his reliance on hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable federal money in his budget balancing plan, and to his bonding recommendation for $680M of new borrowing and debt with no way to pay for it. In times like these, everyone's proposals are fraught with fiscal challenges, but the political process and proposals must continue, and we have no choice but to press on for real reform and budget solutions. I hope the condescending scoldings and tiresome threats to "call people out" so common from the politicians in Washington D.C. do not find their way to Minnesota.