Rod Smith asks Tim Pawlenty: Would you sign the Ryan Budget?

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As Tim Pawlenty prepares to visit Coral Gables Wednesday, Florida Democratic Party Chairman Rod Smith called on Pawlenty to declare publicly whether or not, as President, he would sign into law the Paul Ryan budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it for Florida? seniors ?a question he has repeatedly dodged despite his pledge to tell ?ard truths.? ?im Pawlenty spoke a lot about the truth and straight talk yesterday, but he has repeatedly dodged giving a direct answer on whether, as President, he would sign the Ryan budget that dismantles Medicare. As President you either sign the bill or you don?. There isn? room for a wily, equivocating, Romney-esque answer, only strong leadership. So, which will it be Governor Pawlenty? ?bsent a yes or no answer on this fundamental question Pawlenty won? have the credibility to utter the words ?ard truth?in Florida without eliciting laughter ever again.? “Last month, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced his plan to end Medicare and extend tax breaks for the wealthy. The measure was quickly voted on, and House Republicans approved it in near lockstep ?235 to 4. However, in the past two weeks, as congressmen went back to hold town halls in their districts, a major constituent backlash ensued. Seeing the writing on the wall, Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty is refusing to endorse the Ryan plan. During an interview with ThinkProgress, Pawlenty repeatedly refused to say whether he would sign the Ryan budget as president, saying instead that he will soon have his own plan. When reminded that Congress passes legislation and presidents only sign or veto them, Pawlenty only repeated that ?ou?l be able to compare them when you see our plan: PAWLENTY: I?l have my own plan and it?l have many of the same elements to it. And I certainly appreciate Congressman Ryan? courage and leadership that he? exhibited in contract with President Obama, who until recently was ducking the issue. But as to the details of Congressman Ryan? plan, I will soon have my own plan which will have many similarities?EYES: But Congress passes the bills obviously. They come to your desk. If his bill were to come to your desk? PAWLENTY: Yeah, I just, we?l have our own plan and you?l be able to compare them when we reveal that. KEYES: But if it does come to your desk? PAWLENTY: You?l be able to compare them when you see our plan and you can make your judgment.?[ThinkProgress, 5/4/11] In an interview with John Ralston, Pawlenty said, ?n general I applaud Congressman Ryan? leadership and his courage to actually address these issues. I? going to have my own plan that will have differences than what he had. For instance, he didn? address Social Security ?I will.?Ralston interjected, ?hy do you need to address Social Security, since you bring it up? It? going to be okay for a while, according to the trusteesR Pawlenty explained, ?ne is, you can kick the can down the around wait for the crisis to come just like we have now in these other programs, but there are reasonable steps, like the ones I just mentioned a minute ago, that I know we can get a majority of country on board with. It?l help fix the problem and it sends a powerful signal to the market, to the people of this country, and to the world that we can once again fix our problems, get our own house in order, and move the country forward.?]>

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.