Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tim Pawlenty: the Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing…Except the Truth

By Josh Cohen

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy yesterday for president with the promise to tell the “truth.” Ironically, Mr. Pawlenty’s promise didn’t even make it beyond his announcement itself.

But, given his record as governor, “truth” is never something that’s come naturally. Mr. Pawlenty left Minnesota with a record deficit, higher taxes, and crumbling education and health care systems, and still refuses to level with voters about those facts on the ground.

Here’s a snapshot of Tim Pawlenty’s track record of taking liberties with the truth:

Associated Press. “FACT CHECK: Not the whole truth in Pawlenty claims.” "Truth" was Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's buzzword Monday when he announced his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. He said he will tell the truth about hard choices facing the nation while others — President Barack Obama notably among them — do not. A parsing of Pawlenty's opening-day statements shows they were not the whole truth. Here is a sampling of his claims Monday and how they compare with the facts.

National Journal. “Is Pawlenty Telling the Truth About His Record?” Tim Pawlenty, truth teller or truth seller? The newly official GOP presidential candidate said the word “truth’’ no less than 16 times in his much-ballyhooed Monday announcement speech in Iowa titled “A Time for Truth.’’ Pawlenty’s self-portrait of a tough-love, eat-your-vegetables candidate looks like an effort to contrast himself with President Obama, whom he characterizes as a typical style-over-substance politician, as well as Republican rivals such as Mitt Romney, who has tried to finesse his health care record to appease conservatives, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, a fellow Minnesotan who has been guilty of rhetorical overreach more than once.

Washington Post. “Republican presidential candidate Pawlenty bends his truth-telling.” It was Tim Pawlenty’s moment of truth. Actually, several moments of truth …. In a phone interview with Hot Air blogger Ed Morrissey, he promised “a serious, tell-the-truth, courageous message.” And in Des Moines, Pawlenty delivered an announcement speech, “A Time for Truth,” that contained 16 instances of the word “truth” in the prepared text. But just an hour after unburdening himself of these truths in Iowa, the candidate went on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show and told a bit of a fib.

Think Progress.“FACT CHECK: Pawlenty’s ‘Truth’ Campaign Is Already Littered With Lies.” “I am going to tell you the truth. The truth is, Washington’s broken,” Pawlenty declared. “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.” From there, Pawlenty preceded to list various “truths” about the state of the nation, many of which appear — on closer examination — to be either completely untrue or grossly exaggerated.

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