Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty doesn't mince words, making a list of his best quotes pretty easy to compile. Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, is aggressively seeking the 2012 GOP presidential nomination - and several of these quotes come from an August 2011 GOP primary debate in Iowa (yes, just prior to the straw poll). He takes aim at fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann several times, slams President Obama and lays out why he's the best candidate for the job. Some of the best Tim Pawlenty quotes deal with broader issues, like tax reform, immigration and the future of Social Security, too.If you don't see your favorite Tim Pawlenty quote on this list, feel free to add it in the comments. For more political quotes, check out our lists for the best Ron Paul quotes, the most controversial Michele Bachmann quotes, and the biggest Mitt Romney gaffes, to name a few.
Pawlenty Rips Michele Bachmann
"She said she's got a titanium spine. It's not your spine we're worried about, it's your record of results. If that's your view of effective results and leadership, then please stop because you're killing us."
--GOP Debate, Ames, Iowa, August 11, 2011Tim Pawlenty went after rival Michele Bachmann during this debate, not surprisingly. These two have been trading barbs for weeks leading up to the event. Pawlenty at one point even suggested that Bachmann's migraine headaches should pretty much disqualify her from being president (he later took his comment back). Verbal sparring is par for the course, but will Pawlenty's strategy work?
Failed Personal Responsibility
"Children who are victims of failed personal responsibility are not my problem, nor are they the problem for our government."
--April 2001, Interview with the Aitkin Independent Age NewspaperControversial quote, to be sure. Pawlenty made this comment long before he decided to seek the GOP presidential nomination - but it could come back to bite him.
"I'm a strong supporter of state rights, but if the federal government won't do its job--in this case, protecting and securing our border--then let the states do it. And they will. When President Bush asked governors to volunteer their National Guard to go to the border to help reinforce our border, through Operation Jump Start, I was one of the few governors who did it. I sent Minnesota National Guard there to reinforce the border, and it works. And that's what we need to do."
--GOP Primary Debate, Manchester, New Hampshire, June 13, 2011With this quote, Tim Pawlenty clearly sums up his views on immigration: It's up to the states to protect the U.S. borders, if the federal government won't.
Announcing Presidential Bid
"I'm Tim Pawlenty, and I'm running for president of the United States. We live in the greatest country the world has ever known. But as we all know, America's in big trouble, and it won't get fixed if we keep going down the same path. If we want a new and better direction, we're going to need a new and better president."
--May 23, 2011, Des Moines, IowaPawlenty officially threw his hat into the ring in May of 2011, two months after announcing the formation of an exploratory committee. During his speech in Iowa, Pawlenty said that "Washington is broken" and he wants to help fix things. Pawlenty went on to criticize the current administration, saying that "fluffy promises of hope and change" don't "buy our groceries, make our mortgage payments, put gas in our car or pay for our children's school clothes or other needs."