Pawlenty Urges Support for Gov. Walker

Pawlenty Urges Support for Gov. Walker

By Scott Conroy - February 24, 2011

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has ramped up an aggressive campaign to come to the defense of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the ongoing political standoff in Madison continues to make headlines nationally.

On Wednesday, Pawlenty appeared on Fox News and chastised Wisconsin Democrats who have fled the state in order to delay a vote on Walker's proposal to take away collective bargaining privileges for public employees.

"When you raise your right hand, and you look the people of Wisconsin and the country in the eye and say that you're going to uphold the Constitution and uphold your duties, and then the first time you have something that isn't going to go your way, you skedaddle like a little ninny out of the state, it is a dereliction of duty, and they should be removed from office," Pawlenty said.

Pawlenty doubled down on his efforts to insert himself at the forefront of the issue on Thursday when his political action committee launched an online video and petition drive in support of Walker.

The 60-second clip features a similar dramatic musical score and fast-paced editing techniques that Pawlenty's PAC had used in a previously released spot, which highlighted the likely presidential candidate's leadership skills and vision for the future.

In the new video, Walker is shown mentioning Pawlenty's name along with popular Republican governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Mitch Daniels of Indiana. A Fox News host is also seen mentioning that some of the protests in Madison were being staged by the DNC and Organizing For America.

"It's really important that America stand with Walker, stand with Wisconsin," Pawlenty says at the end of the video.

The video directs viewers to a website,, which then takes users directly to a page on Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC's site where a petition can be signed in support of Walker.

The PAC's website asks for petition signers to provide their names and email addresses -- data that Pawlenty aides can then retain for future appeals.

Other potential GOP presidential candidates including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee have also expressed public support for Walker, but Pawlenty's appeal stands out in its forcefulness.

A former union member himself, Pawlenty has often spoken out about labor issues in the past, and his eagerness to insert himself into the controversy is indicative of his capacity to seize upon a local issue that has quickly morphed into a national ideological debate, while maintaining his blue-collar bona fides.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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