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Pawlenty: I’m Calling Obama Out

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R-Minn.) speech to the Values Voter Summit was tipped as a pivotal moment in his appeal to the GOP’s conservative base. Pawlenty hardly missed a target, and got his biggest applause when he mocked the president for saying he’d “call out” people who misled about his health care plan.

“I accept the challenge,” said Pawlenty. “I’ll just respond by calling out the president back tonight!” Then he lit into Obama with a killer final line:

The next time you speak to a group of young people, maybe you should apologize for the crushing debt you’re pushing on their shoulders.

The packed ballroom went wild, almost everyone in the audience getting up and cheering. But that was only the most effective of a series of attacks on “appeasement” (“Appeasement didn’t stop the Nazis,” Pawlented noted), the cash for clunkers program, judges who make up laws “on the back of a napkin,” and the incompetence of liberal bureaucrats as an argument against the president’s health care plan, which “needs to get killed.”

“They can’t run the programs we have!” said Pawlenty. “Why give them another one they can run into the ground?”

Pawlenty wrapped up with a moment that took the press gallery by surprise. He recited 2 Chronicles 7:14, and much of the crowd–which hadn’t been given copies of the speech–recited the passage from memory.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Reporters lined up at the right side of the ballroom looked up and back from their laptops, wondering what exactly they were seeing. When Pawlenty wrapped, they bolted out of the room to follow him.

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