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Pawlenty tells Iowans: ‘Look at my record’; critics say: ‘Yes, please’

Campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, former Gov.

Campaigning in Iowa Wednesday, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty told a group of conservatives to look at his record in Minnesota to see what he’d do in Washington.

The Des Moines Register reports that Pawlenty told 130 people in Urbandale that, compared with other GOP candidates, he’s got a history of conservative leadership, and that most politicians talk too much, so voters should look at actions:

“Don’t just look at the words. Look at the person and say, ‘Does this person’s life and record demonstrate the fortitude that they’re actually going to do it?’ Because we’re sick of speeches, and I’m sick of, and I hope you are too, of politicians flapping their jaws.

 “I’m not perfect, but if, again, you can do it in Minnesota, you can do it anywhere, and I know we can do it in Washington, D.C.”

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Pawlenty has been using similar words, pointing to his eight years as Minnesota governor throughout his early presidential campaign, telling Fox News in January:  “And if you can do it in Minnesota, you can do it anywhere.”

Of course, DFLers in Minnesota respond that Pawlenty left the state with many problems, including record deficits.

Said the Los Angeles Times in April:

A close look at Pawlenty’s record in Minnesota, and conversations with former Republican allies in the state, suggest that the former governor’s tough rhetoric does not match Minnesota’s reality.

 Pawlenty did veto almost all proposed tax increases, apart from one on cigarettes labeled a “health impact fee.” He curbed the rate of growth in state spending — though not growth overall.

 But to do that, he relied on money from the federal stimulus a program he has decried as wasteful and other one-time fixes. He postponed school and other obligations, leading to hikes in local property taxes and strains on school districts as burdens shifted downward.

 Most strikingly, he left the state with a $5-billion projected deficit, one of the highest in the nation as a percentage of the state’s general fund, only slightly trailing California’s massive gap.