Tim Pawlenty is running for president on a calm-guy/effective-manager image, stressing his record as governor of a blue state. But a new Iowa TV ad highlights a moment that puts him less obviously in a favorable light: Minnesota's 2005 government shutdown.
"Minnesota government shut down? Why? Because Tim Pawlenty would not accept Democrats' massive tax and spending demands. Result: Pawlenty won," the narrator says in this 30-second spot, which begins airing in Iowa today.
Pawlenty is the only major presidential candidate airing TV ads in Iowa. Considered a major presidential player by party strategists and media types, he has yet to make a mark on national or Iowa polls. His campaign won't say how much it is spending to air the ad.
In July 2005, Minnesota's government partially shut down for the first time in state history, amid a budget stalemate between Pawlenty and Republicans and Democratic-Farmer-Labor legislators. The shutdown lasted from July 1 until July 9, when sides agreed on a temporary deal. After DFL legislators backed away from a proposal to raise taxes on 42,000 of the state's highest-income households, Pawlenty signed a two-year budget later that month that included a 75-cent cigarette tax and increased education spending. Pawlenty and Republicans had sought deeper cuts to health-care programs.