Pawlenty Agrees With Obama's Concerns

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who figures to make a strong run at the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, didn't blast the president as some of his fellow Republicans did; instead, he said he agrees with the president's attention to lowering the deficit and reforming education and health care. See Pawlenty's statement on the State of the Union below:

"While I disagree with his proposed direction, I agree with President Obama that education, health care and the deficit are critical challenges for our country. Our nation's debt is a growing crisis that puts the country's security at risk. Freezing some spending won't solve the crisis - we need to actually cut spending. If we set priorities, make tough choices and reject tax hikes, we can create jobs without continuing to run up irresponsible debt.

"In the long run, our schools simply must do a better job of educating children if America is going to remain competitive. That's why I've pushed to hold teachers accountable with a groundbreaking performance-pay system in Minnesota - reforms that I hope the President will push nationwide.

"Minnesota has also led the way on health care, passing reforms to move the system towards paying for and achieving better health care outcomes. Democrats should listen to voters, stop pushing a government-takeover of health care, and join with Republicans to pass reforms that will cut health care costs."