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Interview With Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Wed, 06/03/2009 - 5:12pm
Neil CavutoAssociated Press

xfdfx YOUR-WORLD-WITH-NEIL-01

<Show: YOUR WORLD WITH NEIL CAVUTO>

<Date: June 3, 2009>

<Time: 16:00:00>

<Tran: 060301cb.140>

<Type: INTERVIEW>

<Head: Interview With Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty>

<Sect: News; Domestic>

<Byline: Neil Cavuto>

<Guest: Tim Pawlenty>

<Spec: Barack Obama; Republican Party; Elections; Tim Pawlenty; Minnesota; Government; Politics>

<Time: 16:00:00>

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, congratulations, auto guys. You got the money. Now meet your new bosses.(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I honestly don't believe that companies should be allowed to take taxpayer funds for a bailout, and then leave it to local dealers and their customers to fend for themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are concerned. I was one of the early co-sponsors of this amendment because we are concerned about the timing. Some of these dealerships have been in business for decades. And then they are given 26 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Must have a terrible conscience right now when you think about what is being done to dealers, small businesses.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAVUTO: Welcome, everybody. I am Neil Cavuto.

And they should probably be, in Detroit, probably making cars, right? Today in Washington, they're making nice with politicians, auto execs answering to just a few of their 535 new bosses now pretty much watching their every move.

The guy who saw this day coming for these auto guys and says, get ready for more of this, guys, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty --the governor just announcing today he is not going to be seeking a third term. We're going to have much more on that.

Now to the governor on this.

Governor, I guess we should not be surprised they are stuck in Washington still dealing with these guys, are not going home to address what were these guys' big concerns in the beginning, right?

GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R), MINNESOTA: Well, Neil, this is sadly reminiscent of the kinds of things we would expect from South America some decades ago. We're seeing the nationalization of the auto industry.

You are soon going to see the full or partial nationalization of the health care industry. You are soon going to see the nationalization, under the Obama administration, of the energy industry. And that, of course, puts the politicians and people making decisions that the market and private businesses should be making.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. You now have politicians chiding the auto industry over size of cars, what they should do, their business decisions, dealership decisions. That is not the proper province for the United States Congress. That should be a private decision.

CAVUTO: Well, nevertheless, I guess they feel legitimized -- that is, the politicians -- doing this, because the government -- that is us -- have a, what, 60 percent stake, let's say, in the new GM. Chrysler still is not entirely out of the woods, so they still have a lot to say about Chrysler,.

But if you argue that, in your first day in bankruptcy, full day in bankruptcy, you are still in Washington dealing with this, how is, for example, GM ever to turn itself around, when it has got 535 bosses popping off what they should do?

PAWLENTY: Well, the answer is, it is going to be extremely difficult. It is going to be hard enough for GM to make the pivot to the new economy and do what they need to do without the weight of the United States Congress on their back.

They should have been in bankruptcy last year. They should have gone in without having to worry about all the politics and psychometrics around what the UAW think. And they should have cleaned house. They would be back out of bankruptcy probably by now as a private company headed in the right direction, and now they are in for the long, heavy load.

CAVUTO: Do you think that some of them, in their heart of hearts, these executives, are saying, man, if this is what a rescue is all about, we should not have gotten rescued?

PAWLENTY: I think so.

You saw that with the banking bailout. Some of the banks -- one of the leaders of the local banks here headquartered in Minnesota, TCF's, gave the money back, said, it ain't worth it.

And, but beyond just the money and the politics, just as a matter of philosophy, in our country, the nationalization of the auto industry, the likely partial of full nationalization of the health care industry, the energy industry, this is going to be a very different country 12 or 24 months from now, and it's headed in the wrong direction in terms of government micromanaging or intervening, and, worse yet, funding and subsidizing and taking over entire parts of our economy.

This is not the United States of America that we know and love and remember. This looks like some sort of a republic from the -- South America circa 1970s.

CAVUTO: Twelve, 24 months from now, a lot of folks will be focusing on the next presidential race. We journalists have a habit of doing that, Governor.

And your name keeps coming up, ever since the decision on your part not to seek a third term as governor of Minnesota. A lot of folks asking, hmm, he was the number-two pick to be John McCain's number two, we were told, and a lot of people of saying, hmm, maybe he's going for the number one.

(LAUGHTER)

PAWLENTY: I don't know what the future holds for me, Neil.

What I do know is this. I'm going to finish out my term in the next 19 months as governor as strong and effectively as I can. And that's still a good deal of time to have an impact here. But I also am going to lend voice nationally and in Minnesota how my party can improve and be a -- still a conservative party, but be a modern, forward-leaning party.

And that's going to be as a volunteer, something I just feel strongly about. But I'm not ruling anything in or out. I am just saying I don't know what I'm going to be doing three years from now. Most of us don't. And I don't...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Well, is part of your thinking, though, Governor, not to be jaded or cynical -- so I apologize in advance for this question -- that, if you were seeking a third term, that's when a lot of chickens would be coming home to roost anyway, and you would have to consider things that other governors are considering right now -- your state is in better shape than most, but -- but that tax increases or anything to balance your budget would be more likely in a potential third term than even now, and that you're -- you're kind of dodging that, so you can focus on bigger things?

(LAUGHTER)

PAWLENTY: No. You know, in Minnesota, the norm is two terms.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAWLENTY: Even though we don't have term limits here in our state, we do have good sense and common judgment. So it is not unusual for somebody to serve -- no governor in Minnesota has gone on to three terms. So, this is the norm, not unusual.

CAVUTO: Well, you were one -- it is the norm, but you were one of the few of whom it was said there was popular backing for a third term.

We will leave that out and take you at your word, as I always would, Governor. I would be disrespect not to.

But it does raise the presidential thing, which I just did, and it also frees you up to fight more aggressively for Norm Coleman, whose court battle to -- to overturn what is a very narrow mandate, you know, for Al Franken for the open Senate spot is -- is tough. Where do you stand on that right now?

PAWLENTY: Well, as your viewers may know, Minnesota law does allow the governor to sign an election certificate until the state court process is complete. It is not yet complete, but it may be about to be complete.

And, when it is, and they direct to sign the certificate, I'm going to sign it. There's not going to be some undue delay or the like. But I'm going to follow the direction of the courts in that regard. And we're going to have a decision here in the coming weeks.

CAVUTO: So, you could be signing a certificate that would turn that Senate seat over to the Democrat, Al Franken, and that would probably not suit you well.

PAWLENTY: Boy, I hope not, but, you know, I have to follow the law, Neil.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAWLENTY: If the Minnesota Supreme Court says, you sign the certificate, and there is not an appeal or some other contrary direction from a federal court, that is my duty.

I can't just ignore that or say I don't feel like following a directive from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

CAVUTO: Right.

PAWLENTY: That would not be the responsible thing to do.

CAVUTO: And it could land you in jail, so that's probably not a good thing to do...

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

PAWLENTY: Exactly.

CAVUTO: Governor, Governor Pawlenty, a pleasure having you. Thank you. Best of luck.

PAWLENTY: Thank you, Neil. Thank you.

END

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