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Iowa Democratic Party, Minnesota DFL come together to denounce Pawlenty’s political platform

The Iowa Democrat Party and Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party joined forces Monday in a press conference denouncing former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty’s political platform, questioning his reasons for running and criticizing his political strategy after supposedly creating the highest deficit in Minnesota state history.

It is the third time in recent weeks the IDP and lawmakers or political groups in Minnesota have reached over state lines to lambaste the two-term governor, who announced his candidacy in a video Sunday afternoon, and held a town hall meeting on the rooftop of Des Moines’s Iowa Historical Building the next morning.

Democrats were critical of Pawlenty’s political record while governor of Minnesota, particularly his Monday statement which called for called for phasing “out subsidies across all sources of energy and all industries, including ethanol.”

“We simply can’t afford them anymore,” he added.

Pawlenty had backed such subsidies while Governor of Minnesota, though he reduced them due “fiscal challenges.”

Monday’s press conference held by the IDP and DFL was the first done together; however, IDP has held similar conferences with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, a member of Minnesota’s DFL party, and Minnesota state Rep. Jim Davnie, a Democrat from St. Paul, denouncing Pawlenty policies.

So why Pawlenty?

“With Minnesota, there’s the geographic boundary,” IDP spokeman Sam Roecker said Tuesday. “These individuals we have held calls with know Pawlenty’s record firsthand. Pawlenty has an extensive record he’s trying to hide, and (IDP) is trying to highlight that.”

Pawlenty is the only candidate IDP holds joint-group press conferences about, at least, so far, party officials said Tuesday. No such joint conferences have been held for candidates former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) or Atlanta businessman Herman Cain. However, Roecker said, that is not to mean the party is focusing its push back on Pawlenty alone, nor do party officials believe the joint press conferences actually propel the two-term governor to front of the 2012 pack.

“We’re pushing back on all candidates, both officials and prospects,” Roecker said. “There is no focus on Pawlenty.”

Roecker said IDP officials intend to release statements in conjunction with visits this week from U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn) and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who are in Des Moines Thursday and Friday, respectively.

“We haven’t held (joint press conferences with Minnesota) for (Bachmann) yet, but there’s no reason why we wouldn’t, especially as she begins to visit Iowa more often,” Roecker said.

Eric Woolson, a senior advisor on the Pawlenty campaign in Iowa, said the tactic is merely “an indication of the sort of campaign the Iowa Democrats will run next year. They don’t want to talk about Barack Obama’s record. They want to misplace attention, and take it off the economy, (and) take it off government spending.”

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