Pawlenty: Voters were ‘played for suckers’ in 2008

WASHINGTON — In perhaps his strongest remarks opposing President Obama’s agenda to date, Gov. Tim Pawlenty charged Monday evening that President Obama had “played” the American people “for suckers” by pledging to govern as a moderate, then actually governing as a “misguided liberal.” The remarks came during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s evening Fox News television show.

“The American people don’t like to be played for suckers, they don’t like to be sold one thing and have something else delivered,” Pawlenty told Sean Hannity Monday night. “That’s what happened with the election of President Obama, he ran as somebody who was going to be reasonable, perhaps even pragmatic, and now his true liberal ideology is coming out as he’s governing as a misguided liberal.”

Hannity followed by suggesting Obama wasn’t just a liberal, but a radical. Pawlenty didn’t voice disagreement.

Pawlenty was also asked about the controversy du jour, that of plans to build an Islamic center roughly two blocks from where the Twin Towers once stood in New York City. Pawlenty lashed out at Obama’s comments, where the president said (without specifically endorsing this project) that proponents have a general right to build places of worship of any faith in any place, subject to local guidelines.

“I think it’s another example of him playing the role of law professor,” Pawlenty said. The question, he added, was not about the legal arguments, it’s “about being sensitive, being respectful, and having good judgment about not putting a mosque within two blocks of Ground Zero — anyone with common sense can see that.”

His comments on the issue stand in stark contrast to the other Minnesota lawmaker commenting on it, Rep. Keith Ellison.

“Every school kid knows that the pilgrims came to America for religious liberty, they came here to worship as they see fit,” Ellison said in an appearance on “Good Morning America” Monday. “So if a group of religious adherents can be stopped from building a house of worship then that will be a suffering blow for religious liberty in our country. It’ll be a setback for the idea that you can worship as you see fit in America.

“Now, that is a deeply rooted and important value and I don’t think we should compromise on it.”

Video of the full exchange between Pawlenty and Hannity is below.

Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by r batnes on 08/17/2010 - 09:04 am.

    I thought Republicans understood the Constitution? You’re either for the First Amendment, or you’re not.

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 08/17/2010 - 10:32 am.

    Yeah, a strict constructionist view of the Constitution demands that building the mosque be allowed.

    I guess those who oppose the mosque are against the Constitution, and therefore are un-American!

    Maybe they should leave this country!

    (In case anyone does not get my sarcasm, I’m parodying the right-wing “logic” that leads to the view that liberals are un-American.)

  3. Submitted by Bill Coleman on 08/17/2010 - 11:33 am.

    The conservatives have backed away from the legal arguments on the mosque. They do not want the legal system to prevent this mosque. I wonder if they would prefer angry mobs with pitchforks and torches.

    John Stewart has done an excellent job of highlighting protests against mosques across the country. If Fox News and KSTP stopped covering this issue for three days, most people who are currently obsessed with this issue would move on to the next media created outrage.

  4. Submitted by Kimbers Cadieux on 08/17/2010 - 11:39 am.

    “The American people don’t like to be played for suckers, they don’t like to be sold one thing and have something else delivered”

    He should know.

  5. Submitted by James Hamilton on 08/17/2010 - 11:50 am.

    Whether one is reasonable or pragmatic is determined by reference to the context in which one acts. Bearing that in mind, it seems to me that President Obama has acted both reasonably and pragamtically over the past 18 months or so.

    It’s more than a bit amusing for Gov. Pawlenty to complain about playing voters for suckers, after selling himself to Minnesota voters as a centrist in 2002.

  6. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 08/17/2010 - 11:58 am.

    What is Pawlenty trying to say? That voters (the American people) were suckers to have elected Obama president?

    Well, now. I would say that is a load of malarkey coming from a pipsqueak who only garnered 1% at a recent voter poll in Iowa.

    Salesmanship Rule # 1 = “Never ever tell a customer he is (was) wrong.”

    By the way, Pawlenty appearing with Hannity … r a d i c a l, man!

  7. Submitted by Colin Lee on 08/17/2010 - 12:53 pm.

    We need leaders who act like responsible adults, not bickering schoolchildren! The politician who scores the most attacks should not win.

  8. Submitted by Candace Kragthorpe on 08/17/2010 - 07:43 pm.

    A classy comment by a future president? It’s our good fortune he reveals now the quality of statesmanship and respect he would bring to the presidency.

  9. Submitted by William Pappas on 08/17/2010 - 09:16 pm.

    Pawlenty is just plain wrong about Obama. He campaigned as much more liberal and has been just as centrist as Bill Clinton was. To liberals Obama is a major disappointment. tiny tim and Fox have to portray Obama as a radical leftist or their support begins to evaporate. By just saying Obama is a liberal and radical many people simply believe them. Wierd stuff. tiny tim just doesn’t have the mind to grapple with the legal issues involving the building of a mosque near Ground Zero. tiny tim’s strange interpretation of our constitution gives us liberty only where his narrow mind finds it supports his rigid ideology. His perspective is entirely activist and not constructionist at all. We’ll never see it but the prospect of a debate between Obama and Pawlenty might end with a “poof” as tiny tim suddenly disappears in his vanishing intellect while Obama grows in stature by simply being near him.

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