If the first rule of a Meet the Press appearance is to survive without any major damage done, Gov. Tim Pawlenty did just that.
NBC’s Meet the Press host David Gregory challenged Pawlenty on his recent Tiger Woods comments (“Are people supposed to take you seriously?”), on whether the federal stimulus created jobs (he cited John McCain’s 2008 economist saying it did) and on his budget, which featured business tax cuts but cuts to social services (Is that your vision for America, social service cuts but lower taxes on businesses?”).
Pawlenty stressed that the private sector is best suited to create jobs and said money spent on the stimulus would have been better used by cutting the payroll tax.
There were two newsy items in the interview. Pawlenty said he supports “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” and said he would “sketch out his future” regarding a possible 2012 run in 2011.
Pawlenty also side-stepped a question regarding deficit reduction. When asked about cuts to Medicare and social security (the two biggest growers in the federal budget) he used the vague “Reform is needed” line and then touted the bus driver strike in 2004 that resulted in benefit cuts.
He also said he hopes President Obama is a one-term president and is hopeful that the GOP will retake Congress.
Reaction to Pawlenty’s appearance is following a partisan divide on Twitter. Democrats say Gregory needed to be stronger on Pawlenty with tougher follow-ups. Republicans characterized it as a grilling.
Here’s the rush transcript (via TVeyes) or you can listen to the audio of the appearance here ()
Update: The TVeyes transcript only works on certain browsers. It worked on Internet explorer but not on Safari for me.
Update. Here’s the full Meet the Press.: