Q&A with Governor Tim Pawlenty

At a July 26 Monitor breakfast, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) discussed the US war in Afghanistan, his plan to reform Medicare, and whether he will run for president in 2012.

Michael Bonfigli/Special to The Christian Science Monitor
At a July 26 Monitor breakfast, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said he will decide whether to run for the White House early next year.

Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota is expected to run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination. Currently vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA), he was guest speaker at the July 26 Monitor breakfast in Washington, D.C.

On whether he will run for president:

"I am finishing my term as governor. I am the vice chair of the RGA.... So I am busy for 2010. I am going to make a decision about my future professionally, personally, and politically in early 2011.... As to what that looks like, it won't be dependent upon what other people do or don't do."

On the US war in Afghanistan:

"You cannot put an arbitrary deadline in Afghanistan.... If we are serious about what this means about terrorism and we are serious about what it means in terms of the threat to the United States of America and our national security interests, then we need to be serious about seeing it through to the point where we are satisfied our objectives have been met."

On Democrats' $787 billion economic stimulus program:

"The stimulus bill that they produced was too large, too slow. It was misdirected, it was mostly government sustenance money.... It has been largely ineffective in terms of stimulating, [of] keeping the economy sustained."

On whether he would include higher taxes as part of the solution to America's deficit and debt problems:

"As a matter of realpolitik, if the Republicans ... take control of one or both chambers of the Congress this fall, the [bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform] is going to go through all this work; they are going to propose, potentially, tax increases, and it is going to be a nonstarter."

On his plan for reforming Medicare:

"We have to reform and restyle Medicare as a 2010 forward-leaning, health-care delivery system that pays not for volumes of procedures on a cost-plus or historical-cost basis, but pays on health-care outcomes ... particularly as it relates to chronic care conditions."

On Arizona's new immigration law, which calls for police to question those stopped for other reasons about their immigration status:

"It has been wildly and irresponsibly and recklessly mischaracterized in the press and in the debate – not by press people but by people who are quoted in the press, including by the president of the United States."

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