Pawlenty Tells Walker to 'Stand Strong'

Until recently, Tim Pawlenty served as governor of the state next to Wisconsin. Like Wis. Gov. Scott Walker, Pawlenty was a Republican at the helm of a northern-Midwest state -- Minnesota -- with a distinct progressive strain in its political culture. Walker is now engaged in the political equivalent of mortal combat (or Mortal Kombat) with the entirety of the labor movement, and Pawlenty sympathizes.

The 2012 hopeful released this statement today supporting Walker in his quest to strip some collective bargaining rights from public-employees unions:

Governor Scott Walker is making tough choices needed to avoid financial ruin. The nation's governors don't need a lecture from a President who has never balanced a budget. All levels of government need to bring public employee compensation in line with the private sector.  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.

Public-employees unions are not too popular in Republican circles these days -- and Pawlenty seems to be counting that will continue to be the case as he continues to explore a possible presidential bid.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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