From politicalticker at CNN:
Phoenix (CNN) – With no Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich or other potential presidential candidates in attendance, Tim Pawlenty did not have to elbow much for speaking and face time with conservative activists gathered at the American Policy Summit in Phoenix on Saturday.
Amid the thin lineup of potential candidates at the Tea Party Patriots’ three-day event, the friendly crowd was served red meat from the former Minnesota Republican governor – who emerged on stage to a splashy video presentation.
“I’m here today to say, ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for standing up to the ruling class. Thank you for standing up to the liberal power brokers, guardians of the status quo and the royal triangle of greed: big government, big unions and big bailed-out businesses.”
Thank you, because I can’t blow each one of you individually.
Original DVD cover
“The Constitution was not written to limit freedom, it was written to limit government,” Pawlenty said. “It appears President Obama has forgotten what this says. It says in the Constitution: ‘In order to form a more perfect Union.’ Mr. President, that does not mean coddling out-of-control public employee unions. And Mr. President, Wisconsin does not need a lecture from somebody who’s never balanced a budget in his life.”
Pawlenty recently launched a website praising Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker as he battles with union opponents of a Republican bill that would strip most state workers of the bulk of their collective-bargaining rights.
Pawlenty is appealing to a group whose support he’ll surely need should he decide to run for president. Recently, he’s made the rounds of conservative events, visited early 2012 primary states, and traveled the country selling his book that’s part memoir, part conservative manifesto, “Courage to Stand.”
Representative Ron Paul spoke after Pawlenty. The Texas Republican enjoys a committed base of support in some conservative circles. He laid out familiar themes that often excite his followers.
“How did we get into this mess?” Paul asked.
“We allowed the wrong kind of people to take over our government. We allowed them to go for all the spending. And we allowed too many people to go to Washington that did not ever take their oath of office seriously. If that’s the cause, why shouldn’t the solution be: sending only people to Washington who take their oath of office seriously and obey the Constitution.”
People who take their oaths seriously? You mean, like Rethuglicans Pete Sessions and Mike Fitzpatrick who took their congressional oaths while watching television at a fundraiser?
As organizations on the left rally support for union workers across the Midwest, GOP presidential hopefuls are glomming on to the issue themselves. Likely GOP presidential candidates including Tim Pawlenty and Jim DeMint have latched on to anti-union sentiment online, recognizing the issue’s national relevance and hoping to generate donations and signups from supporters they can go back to during their 2012 presidential runs.
“The gig is up for public employee groups who demand better benefits than the taxpayers who are paying the bill. I’m confident Governor Walker’s reforms will succeed in Wisconsin. Stand strong, Scott — average taxpayers everywhere are rooting for you,” states StandingWithScott.com, which redirects to Pawlenty’s Freedom First PAC website.
Similarly, The Republican Governors Association recently launched its StandWithScott.com site, which asks people to “Support the RGA as we defend Scott Walker.”
Pawlenty, formerly Minnesota Governor, is promoting a petition and video through his Twitter and Facebook accounts and the PAC site, supporting Walker as his showdown with the state’s public unions dominates national news coverage.
Like the campaign promoting Pawlenty’s book, “Courage to Stand,” the Walker campaign push is accompanied by a high-impact, sensationalized video. In this case, it employs close-up images of cable TV talking heads to tell of the happenings in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and elsewhere in the country where Republican governors are waging legislative wars with unions.
(Video at the ClickZ link)