Tim Pawlenty tacks hard right

The former Minnesota governor takes his second extreme position in less than a week in an appeal to conservatives

Published January 17, 2011 2:40PM (EST)

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor and presumed 2012 hopeful, is trying really, shamelessly hard to distinguish himself as the most conservative candidate in the GOP primary field. 

First, last week, he said (on the show of an anti-gay, anti-Muslim radio host) that he favors reinstating "don't ask, don't tell" in the military. 

And now, on Fox News Sunday, Pawlenty said that Congress should not raise the federal debt ceiling. Watch:

As Salon's Andrew Leonard has explained, failure by Congress to raise the $14 trillion debt ceiling would mean that, sometime later this year, the Treasury would not be able to borrow money. That, in turn, would mean that the government would not be able to pay all of its bills -- Social Security benefits, say, or interest on government bonds. Economists say this would have disastrous consequences.

Pawlenty's idea is to instead cut spending "dramatically," as the Wall Street Journal describes it. But no word on what specifically Pawlenty would cut.

By Justin Elliott

Justin Elliott is a reporter for ProPublica. You can follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin

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2012 Elections Budget Showdown Debt Ceiling Tim Pawlenty War Room