At a town hall meeting on Thursday, GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty claimed that President Obama “hasn’t accomplished anything” since moving into the White House in 2009. Pawlenty also lauded Minnesota’s government shutdown, and defended his “good guy” image at the event, saying it’s possible for a president to be “nice and strong.”
Pawlenty’s town hall was held at his Iowa campaign headquarters in suburban Des Moines, with roughly 150 people in attendance, according to the Iowa Independent. The former Minnesota governor also took questions from Facebook users, who were watching the town hall streaming online.
Pawlenty attack on President Obama’s record, of course, flies in the face of the president’s long list of accomplishments. Obama signed a massive health-care reform law, the Affordable Care Act; passed a $900-billion economic stimulus bill that created or saved between 2.4 and 3.6 million jobs and helped avoid a second Great Depression; signed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill; boosted funding for veterans’ services by $1.4 billion; and signed the Children’s Health Reauthorization Act, providing health care to 11 million children, to name just a few. It’s not political gamesmanship to say Obama “hasn’t accomplished anything”; it’s just plain wrong.
That wasn’t the only controversial statement Pawlenty made. He said he supported the government shutdown in Minnesota, because it forces politicians to “make tough decisions.”
And Pawlenty defended his image as the aw-shucks nice guy in the GOP presidential field. “You don’t have to be a jerk to be strong,” Pawlenty said, adding that President Ronald Reagan was no flamethrower but still won elections. “You can be nice and strong.”