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Pawlenty holds town hall in suburban Des Moines, says Obama hasn’t done anything

URBANDALE — GOP presidential candidate and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty defended his nice guy demeanor while pledging to repeal “Obamacare in its entirety” and have the U.S. “stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel” if elected during a town hall meeting Thursday afternoon.

The town hall meeting, attended by an estimated 150 people, was held at his suburban Des Moines campaign headquarters.

Pawlenty spoke and answered questions from the audience, as well as from Facebook users who could watch the town hall meeting live-streamed on the Internet. Many supporters wanted to talk about the basics — the economy, immigration and health care reform.

Talk turned to budget tactics when a supporter asked if Pawlenty would sign a stop-gap measure to prevent a government shut down if the situation ever occurred. This exact provision is currently in effect in Iowa while Gov. Terry Branstad examines budget bills passed the Legislature. However, impasse in Pawlenty’s home state failed to resolve, and the Minnesota government is currently shut down.

Pawlenty, who reportedly suggested government shut down may have positive impacts, was also governor during a nine-day shut down in Minnesota six years ago.

“I think it’s really important to have the showdown now,” he said, adding he often used executive powers over the Minnesota Legislature when needed. “I would keep the pressure on, and force politicians to make tough decisions.”

Pawlenty has been pegged by some media outlets and political analysts as “the nice guy” — a characterization some voters have picked up on. Attendee Bill Campbell told Pawlenty, a former prosecutor, that while he liked Pawlenty’s platform and beliefs, he wanted to see the former governor have a slightly tougher demeanor.

“You don’t have to be a jerk to be strong,” Pawlenty replied, then referred to President Ronald Reagan, who was known for his positive and optimistic demeanor as part of his leadership style.

“You can be nice and strong,” Pawlenty said.

However, Pawlenty took a swipe at President Barack Obama, who “was in the Senate long enough to have a cup of coffee before going to the White House, and he hasn’t done anything, he hasn’t accomplished anything … people want to know this failed.”

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