It's his second Wait, What? moment of the week. First, he says no to ethanol subsidies in Iowa and then in Florida... well, given what he threw down in the Hawkeye state, you can probably guess the rest.
CORAL GABLES — A day after telling Iowans their beloved ethanol subsidies will have to go, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty used a stop in senior-heavy Florida to call for reining in Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees.
The former Minnesota governor, who launched his campaign Monday, talked about entitlement reform during a 30-minute Facebook town hall and in a question-and-answer session with reporters at the Biltmore hotel.
It's part of a tough-medicine tour, designed to highlight Pawlenty's willingness to tell "hard truths." He's also planning to visit Washington to call for less-generous pay and benefits for public sector employees and to New York to call for an end to Wall Street bailouts.
"We won't have Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security as we know it in the future if we don't make changes and adjustments now that can preserve these important programs," Pawlenty told the Facebook audience.
For his part, Pawlenty likes but stopped short of endorsing Paul Ryan's Medicare plan as he will be rolling out his own plan, shortly.
We're heartened that Pawlenty is making these kind of statements especially in the territories he is doing so. The timing of them, being the first significant policy statements by any of the prospective GOP field, helps to shape and drive the debate. Energy subsidies and entitlement reform are important topics that we can ill-afford to leave unaddressed. Let's see then how the others will respond to Pawlenty's opening salvos.
It's still way early and heeding our own advice of not shacking-up with anyone just yet, T-Paw, however, gets first crack at a second date with us.