Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) criticized President Obama on a
range of issues during a speech Friday at the Conservative Political
Action Conference, demanding Obama "stop apologizing for America."
Pawlenty said Obama's foreign policy undermines allies like Israel and Britain, while "we appease and accommodate Iran and Russia."
"Mr. President, with bullies, might makes right," Pawlenty said, comparing Obama to former President Jimmy Carter.
The former governor also took a strong stand against raising the debt ceiling, telling the crowd, "We should not, we should not, raise the debt ceiling."
"I know there may be some Democrats in the room, so I'll say this real slowly. We can't spend more than we take in," Pawlenty said, drawing out each word for effect.
After Pawlenty's 2010 CPAC speech, which was widely panned as lacking energy, observers closely watched the former governor's performance. The early read is that he received a much better response and delivered a stronger performance Friday.
The former governor didn't address his timetable for announcing a 2012 presidential run, but he tested out a few potential stump speech lines, telling the crowd, "We need more common sense and less Obama nonsense."
He also rebuked so-called "birthers," noting, "I am not one who questions the existence of the president's birth certificate. But when you listen to his policies, don't you at least wonder what planet he's from?"
Pawlenty said he wants to "throw the tax code overboard," and proposed that every member of Congress be forced to complete their tax returns "without the help of a tax preparer, accountant or lawyer. Let them experience firsthand the moronic, burdensome, intimidating beast that our tax system has become."