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Pawlenty talks health care, 2012 presidential run with Esquire

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty gave his first major interview in months with men's magazine Esquire, an interview published in the March issue that ranged from his stance on government bailouts and health care reform to his possible bid for presiden...

Govenor announce green job initiative
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty gave his first major interview in months with men's magazine Esquire, an interview published in the March issue that ranged from his stance on government bailouts and health care reform to his possible bid for president in 2012.

Pawlenty called last year's Republican victories in the Virginia and New Jersey governor elections "barometers for how the nation is feeling," adding the country is reacting to fears that the government is growing too big.

He described his South St. Paul upbringing and how "good-natured arguments" with his four older siblings helped shape his political beliefs over the years.

Pawlenty said those conversations showed him most people favor the majority of Republican ideals, but they often get hung up on misconceptions from the other side of the political spectrum.

"And Republicans have an opportunity, I think, to reconnect with those voters. If you have a credible messenger," he said. "The challenge is, we're competing against the other side, who create the illusion that they're giving away free stuff. And people like free stuff."

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Pawlenty said Republicans could have done a better job explaining their "alternative vision" of improving the health care system as opposed to the full health care reform now being urged by President Barack Obama.

He blamed his party's lack of sticking to its core principles and values once elected as the reason why Republicans started losing national power in 2006. But he said fresh ideas and offering an alternative to Obama's direction is a "huge opportunity" for the party.

The interview ended with a simple question, "Why would you run?" that had Pawlenty explaining a little more about the chances of his presidential run in 2012.

He said he will "share his beliefs across the country" through his Freedom First political action committee and should come to a decision on the presidential bid by early 2011.

"I think the country's in trouble. And I think I have a pretty clear sense of the values and principles that have made this country great," Pawlenty said. "I've had a chance to govern and lead with those in mind, with some significant success in Minnesota."

"And I think the country needs that kind of leadership and insight and perspective."

- On the Web: Esquire's interview with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, www.esquire.com/

features/tim-pawlenty-interview-0310

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N.D. Chamber launches Web site

A new Web site from the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce will encourage the state's business community and residents to get involved in the legislative process, the chamber announced Monday.

The North Dakota Chamber Legislative Action Center includes news feeds from national and state outlets covering issues relating to Chamber policies, as well as listing elected officials and district representatives.

It also suggests things to discuss when contacting lawmakers, shows polls on multiple issues and will provide candidate information and race updates during the election season.

"This new advocacy Web site gives people the power, information and direction to voice their opinions," Dave MacIver, president of the chamber, said in a statement. "It will be a valuable tool as we face key business issues on both state and national levels."

- On the Web: The North Dakota Chamber Legislative Action Center, www.ndbusinessvoice.com .

Earthquake relief donations

Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., was part of a bipartisan group of U.S. House of Representatives members that sponsored legislation to encourage donating to earthquake relief efforts in Chile and Haiti, he announced Tuesday.

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The bill, introduced by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Sander Levin, D-Mich., and committee ranking member Dave Camp, R-Mich., will allow Americans to donate to relief efforts and claim an itemized deduction on their 2009 tax return.

A similar bill passed Congress in January that allowed deductions for charitable donations to assist victims of the Haiti earthquake, but the incentive expired March 1. The current bill now before the House would extend the incentive until April 15, the tax deadline, and also make donations to Chile relief efforts eligible.

"Both of these countries suffered significant damage because of the earthquakes that struck them this year, and I hope people will take advantage of this tax benefit to lend a hand," Pomeroy said in a statement.

Related Topics: TIM PAWLENTY
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