2012 GOP Hopeful Pawlenty Backs Tea Party

Minnesota governor also strongly backs Rep. Michele Bachmann, host of House Tea Party Caucus.


The rush by potential Republican 2012 presidential candidates is on to grab the Tea Party movement and today Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty auditioned with the with a winning line: Ronald Reagan was an original Tea Partyer. [See a gallery of Tea Party cartoons.]

Reviewing the history of movements like the Tea Party, he told reporters that "in every generation there is always some political insurgency." Looking to the last one he added: "At one time Ronald Reagan led the insurgency." And, he said, Reagan "turned out to be one of the best presidents in the history of the country, a transformational leader on multiple levels."

Praising Tea Party members, Pawlenty said, "they bring new energy, new talent, new people, they hold the old guard accountable, they rattle the cage a little bit, they're telling people shape up or we'll come after you in a political sense and that brings a renewed sense of accountability."

Pawlenty, who plans to decide on a 2012 run early next year, also had good words for Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who's caught some flack in the House for starting a Tea Party Caucus. Bachmann, he said, "is a powerful strong clear voice for the conservative movement in the country." [See who gives the most money to Bachmann's campaigns.]

  • See a slide show of 10 reasons Sarah Palin would make a good president.
  • Check out our editorial cartoons on the Tea Party.