Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's 2012 presidential campaign released some excerpts from the speech he will deliver late Monday morning in Des Monies, Iowa. Not surprisingly, the speech will be heavy on criticism of President Barack Obama.
Excerpts of Governor Pawlenty's Announcement Address:
"I'm Tim Pawlenty, and I'm running for President of the United States. We live in the greatest country the world has ever known. But, as we all know, America is in big trouble, and it won't get fixed if we keep going down the same path. If we want a new and better direction, we need a new and better President."
"President Obama's policies have failed. But more than that, he won't even tell us the truth about what it's really going to take to get out of the mess we're in. ... I'm going to take a different approach. I am going to tell you the truth."
"We've tried Barack Obama's way -- and his way has failed. Three years into his term, we're no longer just running out of money. We're running out of time. It's time for new leadership. It's time for a new approach. And, it's time for America's president - and anyone who wants to be president - to look you in the eye and tell you the truth."
"The changes history is calling on America to make today cannot be shouldered only by people richer than us, or poorer than us - but by us, too. Politicians are often afraid that if they're too honest, they might lose an election. I'm afraid that in 2012, if we're not honest enough, we may lose our country. If we want to grow our economy, we need to shrink our government. If we want to create jobs, we need to encourage job creators. If we want our children to be free to pursue their dreams, we can't shackle them with our debts. This is a time for truth."
"No president deserves to win an election by dividing the American people - picking winners and losers, protecting his own party's spending and cutting only the other guys'; pitting classes, and ethnicities, and generations against each other. The truth is, we're all in this together. So we need to work to get out of this mess together. I'll unite our party and unite our nation, because to solve a fourteen-trillion-dollar problem, we're going to need three hundred million people."
"In Minnesota and in Washington, the issues were the same: taxes, spending, health care, unions, and the courts. But in Washington, Barack Obama has consistently stood for higher taxes, more spending, more government, more powerful special interests, and less individual freedom. In Minnesota, I cut taxes, cut spending, instituted health care choice and performance pay for teachers, reformed our union benefits, and appointed constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court. That is how you lead a liberal state in a conservative direction."
The Minnesota House is honoring Tom Olmscheid, a photographer for the Minnesota House who is retiring after 35 years of service.
"His job," Rep. Joe Hoppe said on the House floor, "was to make us look good."
House members gave Olmscheid a standing ovation for his work.
Olmscheid has been known to take pictures that offer a different perspective than just lawmakers talking on the House floor (you can view one of his photo essays here).
As the Minnesota House was honoring their chief photographer, the state's budget picture remained out of focus. Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton and GOP legislative leaders are still far apart on crafting a budget that erases a $5 billion budget deficit. Dayton wants to raise taxes on Minnesota's top earners. Republicans say they can erase the deficit through spending cuts. The GOP-controlled Legislature already sent a round of budget bills to Dayton that he says will be vetoed.
A few Republicans are calling on him to veto those bills quickly. Rep. Jim Abeler, R-Anoka, asked the Speaker of the House whether his Health and Human Services Finance bill was vetoed yet.
"I thought for sure when we sent him the message this last weekend ... he would have responded in short order," Abeler said. "Because there are some things I don't think he likes about it. But I'm not sure because I haven't gotten a letter from him about the bill."
Abeler said he has another bill ready to make another offer to the governor.
"I'm frustrated," Abeler said. "I don't know how to proceed."
Dayton has until midnight Tuesday to take action on the K-12 bill. He has until midnight Wednesday to take action on the other budget bills.
Democrats argued that Abeler and GOP legislative leaders should have passed their bills earlier if they wanted Dayton to take action before the end of the session. They also say Republicans should move forward with another bill
"If you have another bill to put forward, I don't know how you're going to get that done," DFL House Minority Leader Paul Thissen said. "We have less than 14 hours to go here."
Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to finish their work. Dayton will have to call lawmakers back for a likely special session if a budget deal isn't reached.(1 Comments)
Posted at 12:46 PM on May 23, 2011
by Elizabeth Dunbar
GOP House Speaker Kurt Zellers says "a little overtime" for the legislative session to get a budget deal worked out "probably would be all right."
Zellers spoke on MPR's Midday, saying a combination of a large budget deficit and large numbers of new legislators in new House and Senate bodies justify a little extra time.
"I think there's a difference between overtime and a special session," Zellers said, adding that it's still too early to talk about contingency plans in case of a government shutdown.
Gov. Mark Dayton said he's "extremely pessimistic" a budget deal can be reached by today's midnight deadline. He also hinted that a special session might not happen right away.
Dayton reiterated that he has scaled back his tax increase proposal, saying a compromise "means agreeing to things you don't agree with."
"I'm still standing at the halfway mark waiting for them to budge a dollar," he said.
Zellers and Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch argued on Midday that Republicans have already compromised by agreeing to spend more overall than two years ago. They say tax increases aren't an option.
"This is the largest state budget in the history of the state," Koch told Midday.
Dayton and GOP leaders say meetings between legislators and the governor's office will continue today.
"If we're making some good progress, it might be best to just get back to work," Koch said of working past the midnight deadline.(5 Comments)
Secretary of the Minnesota Senate Cal Ludeman said this afternoon that the Senate is getting an "unprecedented volume" of email. So much so that brought down the email system overnight.
The issue became public on MPR's Midday program this morning, when Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, charged that the Senate was "deleting" emails.
He was talking about the upcoming campaign over the same-sex marriage amendment.
"I absolutely think we can have a good campaign and win," Dibble said. "I think the evidence of that is hundreds of thousands of emails have come in the aftermath, so many so that the Republican caucus is deleting them before their members even get to see them."
That's not the case, Ludeman told MPR News. He said the volume of email had crashed the Senate's system early this morning. Ludeman said emails were coming in in batches of 50 or 60 at a time. He didn't know if it was related to same-sex marriage, Ludeman said, because they aren't looking at what's in it.
"It's not erased. It's in an archived file, separated so that we can manage the flow of these emails back into our system when we have the capacity, over time, to be able to do it," Ludeman said. "It will take care of itself. After midnight tonight we know that our business part of the traffic will not be higher, so we'll be able to put that traffic back into the system."
Ludeman said deletion is up to senators themselves, on a personal basis.
"That's their choice" he said. "But our system is not doing an erasure. We do have a block in place. It's only for volume, not for the content reasons. It's not anti-spam blocking for the content, only the volume."
House officials say they've got a different system, that they have different email servers for each caucus and for the non-partisan staff, so they can handle peaks as issues draw more traffic to the inboxes of Representatives.(3 Comments)
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced for a second day in a row that he's a candidate for president, with the news this time coming from him in person at a podium in Des Moines, IA.
Pawlenty first announced his campaign for the Republican nomination yesterday afternoon in an online video, trying to garner as much attention as possible.
Just as he did in the video, Pawlenty tore into President Obama during his speech in Des Moines saying, "In 2008, Barack Obama told us he would change America, and he has. In 2012, we will change America again, and this time, it will be for the better."
Pawlenty warned of out of control federal spending and said to reduce the deficit and ultimately the national debt, popular entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare need to be reformed. He even called for the phasing out of ethanol subsidies standing in the middle of Iowa corn country.
Following his speech Pawlenty held a brief question and answer session with the roughly 200 supporters who turned out.
A couple of blocks down the road representatives from the Democratic parties in Iowa and Minnesota held a news conference. Minnesota DFL Chair Ken Martin accused Pawlenty of lying about his record and bankrupting the state of Minnesota. Martin said Pawlenty's record does not warrant a promotion. He said Pawlenty chose Iowa for his announcement because he was running from his record in Minnesota.
Tomorrow Pawlenty will be in Florida for a Facebook town hall forum. On Thursday he will be campaign in New Hampshire.
GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann is scheduled to do a tele-townhall meeting tomorrow night with members of GOPAC, a group that aims to elect Republicans to state and local offices. GOPAC officials say Bachmann will hold the meeting at 6pm CST. The group says Bachmann will take question and will "learn what is at stake this year and in 2012."
Bachmann appears to be laying the groundwork for a possible run for the White House. She has visited several key states including Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Bachmann is scheduled to give a speech in Des Moines, Iowa on Thursday.
Posted at 11:59 AM on May 23, 2011
by Elizabeth Dunbar
Filed under: MN Legislature
The Minnesota House has adjourned without voting on the Legacy bill. That means the Legislature would have to take it up again during an expected special session to approve the state's budget.
Members had issues with a provision related to the Open Meeting Law and the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
The House initially rejected the conference committee report, but brought it back later without the changes members had requested. Rather than voting on the bill, the House debated it until the midnight deadline.
UPDATE at 8:22 p.m.
The House has voted to reject the Legacy conference report and send the bill back to committee. At issue was the Open Meetings change for the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Rep. Dean Urdahl, R-Grove City, revealed that it was the reason he had questions about the bill even while serving as co-chair of the conference committee. DFL Rep. Rick Hansen moved to reject the report, and after some discussion, Urdahl agreed.
The House voted 119-14 to reject the conference report. It isn't yet clear whether the Legacy conference committee will meet before the midnight deadline, but they certainly could, especially if all they plan to change is the Open Meetings provision.
POSTED at 5:49 p.m.:
The Minnesota Senate has approved a bill designating how $450 million in Legacy Amendment funds will be spent in the next two years.
The three-eighths of a cent sales tax voters approved in 2008 is dedicated to funding programs for the outdoors, clean water, parks, and arts and culture.
This year, the fund includes $550,000 for a commission to preserve the State Capitol. Sen. Michael Jungbauer, R-East Bethel, supports the provision.
"I got a lot of calls and a lot of interest in this bill by having this provision in here, and I think that's exciting because we do need to take care of this building, we do need to have a vision to keep this building strong and sound for the future and do any additions or anything we need to do so we do the work more efficiently here," Jungbauer said.
The Senate vote was 54-11.
Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, voted against the measure. He said later that he doesn't have a problem with the bill itself but objected to it being front and center when the budget hasn't been finished.
"Republicans made it too much of a priority," Bakk said. "They say we have to pass them when the walls of state government are crumbling."
The House is expected to take up the final version of the bill later today. One of the provisions generating the most debate had to do with how to split parks and trails money between the metro area and greater Minnesota, but conference committee members said a compromise was reached that gave 38 percent to state parks, 42 percent to metro parks and 20 percent to parks in greater Minnesota.
"That was where the real work was done," said Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, who co-chaired the conference committee.
Sen. Terri Bonoff, DFL-Minnetonka, said she still had questions about the parks money, but she said legislators can reassess the funding allocations in the future.
Another change from two years ago is the amount of money being distributed directly to groups. Both the House and Senate Legacy committees showed interest in putting more money into grant programs that groups would have to compete for.
Groups that will have to compete for the money include children's museums in greater Minnesota and Minnesota Public Radio, which received a direct allocation of $2.65 million in Legacy funds during the last two years. MPR will now compete against other public radio stations for $5.3 million over two years. The criteria for the grants will be determined by the Department of Administration.
One issue that could come up during the House debate is a provision in the bill that puts fewer restrictions on the Lessard Sams Outdoor Heritage Council in terms of their meetings. Under the provision, the council would abide by the part of the Open Meetings Law that applies to the Legislative Citizen Comission on Minnesota Resources, rather than a higher "executive level" groups under the law.
Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, said she wished lawmakers hadn't changed anything. But she said she plans to support the bill when the House takes it up this evening.