Pawlenty: Drastic change is needed

On issues from Medicare to the debt and defect former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty would make drastic changes if he were elected president, he said Sunday.

"I think any doofus can go to Washington, D.C., and maintain the status quo or incrementally change things," Pawlenty said on ABC's "This Week." "But for the country, the hour is late ... and we have to take significant action soon. This is time for people who are wanting to be leaders in a bold way to come forward and say, 'We really have to change things significantly.'"

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The former governor didn't address specifics in the much-debated House Republican plan authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), but he didn't criticize it.

"As to Paul Ryan's plan, I'll have my own plan. It'll have some differences. For example, he didn't address Social Security. I will, and we already are. As to Medicare, it will have some differences," Pawlenty said. "But if the only choices were doing nothing like President Obama is doing and Paul Ryan's plan, I'd sign it.

Pawlenty did not address the controversial changes Ryan's plan proposes for reforming Medicare, such as creating a "premium-support" system, which Democrats call a voucher.

He did say that he would shrink government by off-loading services to other providers.

"Just because the government has an area of responsibility doesn't mean it has to be the provider of the service," Pawlenty said. "If government has an ability and an interest in helping people with certain things -- and they should, like education -- then give people the money directly. Let them decide what's best for their family in a marketplace."

Pawlenty, who officially joined the Republican field for the 2012 nomination last week, restated his early campaign theme of being an honest broker with voters. 

"my campaign is based around the notion that it's time for the truth and it's time for leaders to step forward and tell America and the American people the truth."