Pawlenty announces 2012 run under banner of ‘truth,’ tells Iowans that ethanol subsidies must be phased out

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Tim Pawlenty announced his candidacy for president in Iowa Monday afternoon under the banner of ‘truth,’ presenting himself as someone whose campaign would not just be made of empty promises, and who will instead be willing to tell the truth, even if it makes him unpopular.

To show how serious he is, in his announcement speech in Iowa Pawlenty did just that, telling Iowans the unspeakable: that their beloved ethanol subsidies must come to end.

“I’m here today to tell Iowans the truth, too,” he said. “… The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it.”

“Now, I’m not some out-of-touch politician,” he said. “I served two terms as governor of an ag state. I fully understand and respect the critical role farming plays in our economy and our society.”

“But even in Minnesota, when faced with fiscal challenges, we reduced ethanol subsidies,” he concluded.

Pawlenty said later this week he will go talk to Wall Street and tell them if he is elected, “the era of bailouts, handouts and carve outs will be over.” Tomorrow, he said, he will go to Florida and discuss the need to raise the social security retirement age, means test the annual cost-of-living adjustment, and reforming Medicaid.

“Conventional wisdom says you can’t talk about ethanol in Iowa or Social Security in Florida or financial reform on Wall Street,” Pawlety said. “But someone has to say it. Someone has to finally stand up and level with the American people. Someone has to lead.”

“Leadership in a time of crisis isn’t about telling people what you think they want to hear, it’s about telling the truth,” he added later.

Throughout the speech, Pawlenty contrasted his record as governor with President Obama’s tenure as president.

“In 2008, Barack Obama told us he would change America … and he has,” Pawlenty concluded. “In 2012, we will change America again … and this time, it will be for the better.”