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Pawlenty: Obama 'Ducking' in Deficit-Reduction Debate

WASHINGTON -- GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty says President Obama is showing no courage in the debt showdown. 

"If you're the leader of the free world, would you please come to microphone and quit hiding in the basement about your proposals, and come on up and address the American people? Is he chicken?" the former Minnesota governor told CNN's "State of the Union." 

He said Obama needs to talk specifically and publicly about where he would cut entitlement programs to reduce the nation's debt. Obama has been negotiating with congressional leaders in an attempt to raise the government's borrowing limit ahead of an Aug. 2 deadline to avoid a financial default. 

"Where's the president of the United States on the most pressing financial challenges of our country on entitlement reform? Where is his specific Medicaid reform proposal? Where is his specific Medicare reform proposal? Where is his Social Security reform proposal?" Pawlenty asked. 

"The answer is he doesn't have one. You can't find him publicly talking about that. He's ducking, he's bobbing, he's weaving. He's not leading, and that's not the kind of president we need, and that's why he needs to be removed from office."

Pawlenty himself has criticized for not being aggressive enough in his 2012 campaign.