Shortly after President Obama finished delivering his speech on deficit reduction, semi-official Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty offered a short response: “Today’s speech was nothing more than window dressing.”
He then launched into a full-throated attack on the other big government spending story moving on Capitol Hill on Wednesday: the vote for the shutdown-averting 2011 budget deal forged by Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and, of course, the leaders of Pawlenty’s own party in the House last week.
“The more we learn about” that deal, Pawlenty said, “the worse it looks.”With his attack on the plan, which he said was “forced” by Obama and Reid, Pawlenty joins the ranks of conservatives upset that the largest raw-dollar spending cut in American history didn’t go nearly far enough.
“When you consider that the federal deficit in February alone was over $222 billion, to have actual cuts less than the $38 billion originally advertised is just not serious,” Pawlenty said in his statement Wednesday. “The fact that billions of dollars advertised as cuts were not scheduled to be spent in any case makes this budget wholly unacceptable.”
That could put him at odds with Speaker John Boehner (R-OH). In the joint statement Boehner put out with Reid on the night the budget deal was forged, Boehner called the cuts “historic.” Following that, Boehner went out and touted many aspects of the cut.
But some conservatives were upset with the plan, including members of the all-important tea party, which candidates like Pawlenty would like to appeal to in next year’s primaries. With his statement slamming the deal, Pawlenty is staking a claim on the right wing of his party, which is where the battle for the nomination will likely be fought.
Boehner’s office didn’t have anything nice to say about Pawlenty’s dismissal of the deal the Speaker forged on Apr. 8.
Read Pawlenty’s entire statement released after Obama’s speech:
“Today’s speech was nothing more than window dressing. President Obama’s lack of seriousness on deficit reduction is crystal clear when you look at the budget deal he insisted on to avoid a government shutdown. The more we learn about the budget deal the worse it looks. When you consider that the federal deficit in February alone was over $222 billion, to have actual cuts less than the $38 billion originally advertised is just not serious. The fact that billions of dollars advertised as cuts were not scheduled to be spent in any case makes this budget wholly unacceptable. It’s no surprise that President Obama and Senator Reid forced this budget, but it should be rejected. America deserves better.”