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Pawlenty Uses CPAC Forum to Bash Obama, Democrats

Expected 2012 GOP presidential candidate and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty came out swinging Friday morning as he addressed the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Seizing on the news of the day — Tiger Woods’ apologetic news conference — Pawlenty said conservatives could follow the example of Woods’ wife, Elin Nordegren.

“I think we should take a lesson from her and take a 9-iron and smash the window out of big government in this country,” he told a packed Marriott ballroom, where CPAC attendees erupted into applause.

The crowd wasn’t as energized as a day earlier, when former Vice President Dick Cheney and newly elected Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) made surprise appearances and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), a 2008 presidential hopeful who also is a possible 2012 candidate, thrilled the crowd.

But they came alive when Pawlenty said the idea of keeping God out of government is “hogwash.”

“God is in charge,” he said. “If it’s good enough for the Founding Fathers, it’s good enough for each and every one of us.”

Pawlenty took ample shots at President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress, attacking the president for using a teleprompter (Pawlenty used notes) and saying that last week’s D.C. snowstorm, though it wasn’t Obama’s fault (he inherited it from President George W. Bush, Pawlenty joked), was good for the country.

“Any day that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid and [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi can’t get to work is a good day for freedom,” he said.

Pawlenty continued his criticisms by focusing on Obama administration policies, deriding the decision to extend Miranda rights to alleged Christmas day bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and saying that Obama does not believe in fiscal responsibility.

“If government spending was an Olympic sport, he would be a repeat gold medalist,” he said.

The Minnesota governor also said the deficit has caused Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to go to China on “rhetorical bended knee” to ask them to buy our debt.

“We are not a beggar nation,” he said in his most impassioned moment during the speech, pounding his fists on the lectern.

Keeping with the narrative of earlier speakers and CPAC as a whole, Pawlenty said that though naysayers and pundits counted out the conservative movement, it will rise up and fight back.

He likened “tea party” activists and conservatives to gruff Civil War Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, whom President Abraham Lincoln kept in charge of the military despite calls to fire him.

“History’s on our side,” Pawlenty said. “We’re on the side of freedom, we’re on the side of individual responsibility, we’re on the side of free markets, we’re on the side of the rule of law, we’re on the side of limited government, and like Grant, we’ll keep on fighting.”

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