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Pawlenty urges smaller government in Iowa campaign stop

Government spending in America is out of control and in need of a strong leader to reign it in and reduce debts for future generations, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty told a Des Moines crowd Monday morning, a day after he announced his candidacy for President.

“Our country won’t get fixed is we keep going in the same direction,” Pawlenty told a crowd of about 200 people, including about 60 members of the press and some state politicians like Rep. Erik Helland (R-Johnston), on the rooftop of the Iowa Historical Building in Des Moines’s East Village neighborhood.

“[President Barack] Obama doesn’t have an economic plan, he just has a campaign plan,” Pawlenty said, adding that Obama’s “policies have failed,” and referring to Obama’s 2008 campaign for President as being full of “fluffy promises of hope and change.”

“I’ll tell you the truth. And the truth is, Washington D.C. is broken,” Pawlenty said.

Pawlenty said the foundation of his campaign platform would include shrinking government, reducing spending and stopping business bail-outs.

“Government money isn’t free,” Pawlenty said, adding that Americans either pay for the debt with their taxes or we pass it on to our children.

Pawlenty, who was an attorney before entering politics, has been able to appeal to establishment conservatives, as well as social and religious conservatives. The son of working class parents, Pawlenty has often talked about growing up in a blue collar neighborhood and about being the first member of his family to attend and graduate from college. The former governor has drawn upon these experiences in his political life, saying they helped shape his desire to keep the privatization of sectors like business and health care.

Pawlenty, a former Catholic, has identified himself as an evangelical Christian since marrying his wife, Mary Pawlenty, a former district judge who accompanied him on his trip to Iowa. The evangelical element has made him an attractive candidate to many within the tea party movement, as he shares their disdain for abortion and Obama’s health care reform legislation.

Pawlenty almost did not expect to enter the race.

“After eight years as Governor of Minnesota, I was looking forward to life with Mary and our girls,” he said. “But with Mary’s encouragement, we came to a different conclusion.”

Mary Pawlenty said she has often stood by her husband’s political aspirations, and supports his campaign “in equal measure of both my heart and my head.”

“He’s a man who’s internal compass is set so true,” she said.

Even before announcing his intention to run, Pawlenty faced flack from joint efforts by the Iowa Democratic Party and Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. The pair have held press conferences, including one that was scheduled for today, which blamed Pawlenty for creating the highest deficit in Minnesota’s state history and raising college tuition rates.

Pawlenty is also scheduled to make campaign stops in Florida and New York this week.

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