Former Gov. Arne Carlson: Pawlenty lacks leadershipby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Former Republican governor Arne Carlson railed against Gov. Tim Pawlenty's handling of the state's budget crisis in remarks made Wednesday.
Carlson said Pawlenty has shirked his responsibility as a political leader and failed to confront the state's long-term budget problems.
"What the governor wants to do is to say no to taxes, yes to spending, and then create, if you will, a promise to pay back sometime tomorrow when we have a new governor. And that's exacerbating the problem," Carlson said in an interview on MPR's All Things Considered.
The former governor has been a frequent critic of Pawlenty's fiscal policies. While Carlson considers himself a Republican, he has endorsed Democratic candidates in recent years, including Barack Obama for president in 2008.
Carlson criticized Pawlenty for failing to unite the Republican Party behind a solid plan to cut spending and improve government efficiency. He pointed to the lack of support from Republican gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Emmer as an example of Pawlenty's inability to lead his party.
"So there's a bit of political disarray on the Republican side," he said. "They've got to unite behind what they're for."
He also urged lawmakers to reach an agreement soon.
"We're not in good shape, regardless," he said. "And to go into a situation where you have no cash to pay the bills creates an impossible situation."
Pawlenty's spokesman Brian McClung delivered a one-sentence emailed response: "I'm not going to respond to Arne Carlson's latest attempt to make himself relevant."
- All Things Considered, 05/12/2010, 5:19 p.m.