Tim Pawlenty, the former Republican governor of Minnesota and a pro-life advocate, made his presidential campaign official today with an announcement speech an rally in Iowa, the site of the first votes in the GOP campaign.
Pawlenty has spared no punches over the last few months as he’s prepared for the official announcement to seek the GOP nod to take on pro-abortion President Barack Obama and today’s speech was no exception.
“We live in the greatest country the world has ever known. But, as we all know, America is 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 need a new and better President,” he said. “President Obama’s policies have failed. But more than that, he won’t even tell us the truth about what it’s really going to take to get out of the mess we’re in. … I’m going to take a different approach. I am going to tell you the truth.”
“We’ve tried Barack Obama’s way — and his way has failed. Three years into his term, we’re no longer just running out of money. We’re running out of time. It’s time for new leadership. It’s time for a new approach. And, it’s time for America’s president – and anyone who wants to be president – to look you in the eye and tell you the truth,” Pawlenty added.
But the fiscally and socially conservative former governor, state legislator and city elected official also outlined a positive view of the future — reminding some conservative columnists of Ronald Reagan.
Pawlenty said: “No president deserves to win an election by dividing the American people – picking winners and losers, protecting his own party’s spending and cutting only the other guys’; pitting classes, and ethnicities, and generations against each other. The truth is, we’re all in this together. So we need to work to get out of this mess together. I’ll unite our party and unite our nation, because to solve a fourteen-trillion-dollar problem, we’re going to need three hundred million people.”
“The changes history is calling on America to make today cannot be shouldered only by people richer than us, or poorer than us – but by us, too. Politicians are often afraid that if they’re too honest, they might lose an election. I’m afraid that in 2012, if we’re not honest enough, we may lose our country. If we want to grow our economy, we need to shrink our government. If we want to create jobs, we need to encourage job creators. If we want our children to be free to pursue their dreams, we can’t shackle them with our debts. This is a time for truth,” he continued.
Following his speech, Pawlenty plans to head to Florida, another key primary election state, and will deliver speeches in Washington, D.C. He also spent time on several national morning talk shows to discuss his future campaign.
Last night, he released a video stating his intention to run with the formal event taking place today in Iowa and he appeared on the Fox news television show hosted by Mike Huckabee over the weekend. Huckabee, the pro-life former Arkansas governor, said he will not run for the Republican nomination and the current crop of presidential candidates and likely candidates will seek his endorsement and support.
Pawlenty joins Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul, Herman Cain and Gary Johnson in officially announcing his candidacy for president and candidates like Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman are expected to join them soon. Other potential candidates include Rep. Michelle Bachmann and possibly former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
During his time as governor, Pawlenty built up a sterling pro-life record and worked closely with Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life to advocate the pro-life position. Following Governor Pawlenty’s two terms, the number of abortions dropped 14 percent and reached a 35-year low. He also opposed the social issues truce on abortion that Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels put forward.
“Governor Pawlenty has been a powerful ally of MCCL and the pro-life movement for many years. He strongly supports life-affirming legislation to inform and support pregnant women, who are now feeling empowered to give life to their unborn babies,” says MCCL executive director Scott Fischbach.
He named Eric Magnuson, an attorney who has worked with pro-life groups, the Chief Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court and told Minnesota agencies to reject Obamacare, which could fund abortions. He signed the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which requires informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period before an abortion. The law was the strongest informed consent law in the country at the time, and Minnesota was the first state in the nation to ensure that women be provided with information on the ability of their unborn child to feel pain.
Pawlenty also signed into law the Positive Alternatives program passed by the state legislature in 2005 with the support of pro-life groups. The law, which provides state funding for pregnancy centers that help women with pregnancy support and abortion alternatives, has already proven successful in lowering the number of abortions.
The Minnesota Department of Health shows 13,037 women received services from the Positive Alternatives grant during the second grant cycle of the program, running from July 2008 through June 2010. More than 12,000 pregnant women were helped during the first two-year grant cycle, July 2006-June 2008. The Pawlenty-supported positive alternatives program is credited with dropping Minnesota abortions, in 2009, to the lowest point since 1975.
In April 2010, Pawlenty declared the month as Abortion Recovery/Awareness Month to help women negatively affected by their abortions.
Pawlenty also pleased pro-life advocates on bioethics issues by vetoing the Kahn-Cohen Cloning Bill in May 2008, which would have legalized human cloning and forced taxpayers to pay for the destruction of human life. He also signed, in May 2009, a bill to ban taxpayer funding of human cloning.
“We stand for protecting life and want to promote and celebrate a culture of life in Minnesota and in the United States of America. We stand up for those who have no voice,” Pawlenty has said. “We have a responsibility to defend the life of the innocent and the powerless. We must take it upon ourselves to protect all individuals in every stage of life, from the unborn to the elderly.”
Pawlenty’s track record has won him accolades from pro-life advocates, with Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser saying “The governor’s actions on behalf of Minnesota women and unborn children are exemplary.”
Scott Fischbach of Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life added, “Under the leadership of Gov. Pawlenty, Minnesota now has the lowest teen abortion rate ever, and the lowest number of abortions performed since 1975. I know first-hand the lives that Tim Pawlenty saved as my governor.”