Think Progress surely thought it would get one of those ambush type interviews where the candidate says something he regrets, but in fact in this case Think Progress may have crowned Pawlenty the rising star of the Republican field.
When asked about a government shut down, Pawlenty was clear that that was not his goal, but that as a last resort if there were no other way to get the budget back on track, that would have to be considered.
I think most Republicans, and likely most Americans overall, would agree that if the choice were between national financial suicide via trillions of dollars of annual deficits as far as the eye could see, or a dramatic break in the legislative log-jam, some form of government shut down of non-essential services for a limited time would be the better alternative.
Think Progress is running the story hoping to damage Pawlenty, but the national financial situation is so bad that Think Progress may have made Pawlenty's day.
Here is the transcript from Think Progress, with the video below (emphasis mine):
KEYES: Governor, you said one of your biggest regrets as governor was not allowing the shutdown in Minnesota to last longer. Would you have that same advice for Republicans in Congress as they face a potential shutdown?I never thought I would say this. Thank you, Think Progress.
PAWLENTY: I know these shutdowns always seem like they loom large, but in Minnesota, six months after, a year after, people looked back on it and could say, “it really didn’t have that big of a traumatic or dramatic negative impact on the state.”
KEYES: And that’s how you think it would be at a federal level?
PAWLENTY: These are hard to predict so we don’t know for sure, but a week-long or month-long or whatever it would turn out to be disruption isn’t the main point. The main point is we have a country that’s in deep trouble. We’ve got to get back to certain principles and responsibilities and starting with getting the budget balanced and if it takes a dramatic moment or a dramatic week or a dramatic month, those kinds of line-in-the-sand moments are what we need to get politicians back up against the wall and have them make the tough decisions. They all talk about making the tough decisions and never do.
KEYES: So you would support a shutdown if it comes down to it?
PAWLENTY: If it came down to it and it was between that and not getting the budget headed in the right direction, that’s an option I think Republicans have to consider.
You have identified for us a candidate who is willing to put our country's financial integrity ahead of political correctness, and who is willing to take that position on the record knowing that the Obama-Democratic spin machine would try to use it against him.
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