Misleading? You be the judge

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s office issued a statement today on Tom Scheck’s report on the governor’s out of state travel. It quotes the governor’s communications director Brian McClung. Here it is:

“This MPR story is misleading. It focuses on the total number of days Governor Pawlenty has traveled and does not differentiate between activity during the week and on weekends.

“A fact omitted from the story is that Governor Pawlenty was out of Minnesota for just eight weekdays this year and virtually all of those trips were related to official duties as Chair of the National Governors Association or assisting the Minneapolis-St. Paul Host Committee.

“The majority of his travel occurred on weekends. It’s doubtful that most Minnesotans care if the Governor is playing hockey, campaigning or watching his daughter’s volleyball games on his own time on a Saturday or Sunday.

“In addition, Minnesota taxpayers did not foot the bill for any of these trips, except for the Governor’s annual participation in the National Governors Association Winter Meeting in Washington.”

So what was it about the story that was misleading? Was it this line?

It should be noted that most of that campaigning has occurred on the weekends.

Or was it this quote from the governor?

“Most of my travels have been on the weekends, and I put enough hours as governor to more than take care of my duties here.”

Or maybe it was these statements attributed to McClung?

McClung says McCain’s campaign, the RNC host committee, the Defense Department and the National Governors Assocation paid for nearly all of Pawlenty’s out-of-state travel.

He said the only time taxpayers picked up the tab for a trip was for NGA winter meetings in Washington D.C. last month.

Just what is it the governor’s office is complaining about in the story? Decide for yourself.

  • Wow, I just posted that the coverage of Gov. Pawlenty’s travel was light and fluffy. I guess that the Gov’s office didn’t think so.

  • Albert

    Legislative staffers do all kinds of illegal campaign work on state time. I presume these excuses will work them when they get caught too?

  • Tom Scheck

    Brian McClung sent a private message to Mike and me about the statement. He said it was ok to post it here:

    Mike –

    I just read your Polinaut post from 1:02 p.m.

    In case you missed it in my statement, I said the story was misleading because “it focuses on the total number of days Governor Pawlenty has traveled and does not differentiate between activity during the week and on weekends.”

    I called it misleading because a listener who hears the beginning of the story that says the Governor was out of the state all or party of the day at least 25 times would likely assume that he’s missed a lot of work. That’s not the case, because the majority of his travel was during weekends and the vast majority of his weekday travel was related to his official duties with NGA and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Host Committee.

    I didn’t have a problem with the portions of the story you posted.

    Hope that helps you understand where I was coming from.


    Brian McClung

    Director of Communications and Citizen Outreach

    Office of Governor Tim Pawlenty

    130 State Capitol

    Saint Paul, MN 55155

    Phone: (651) 296-0001


  • Mary

    I don’t see his trip to China, India, Iraq, or giving the state of the state up north instead of just giving it at the State Capital as most previous Gov. have. He is now off again. Everyone else is not supposed to travel just him. Our deficit would be alot less if he would curtail some of his travel. We not only pay for him but for his bodyguards, family, and friends.