You're Radical If You're Pro-Life? Gov. Tim Pawlenty Weighs in

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," April 16, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin set to address a pro-life group tonight in Indiana. It follows the release of this report on right-wing extremism, singling out groups opposed to abortion.

Does that make anyone who is pro-life a radical?

Because that would include my next guest, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Governor, good to have you. What do you make of this?

GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R), MINNESOTA: Mr. Cavuto, good to be with you.

I think it’s absurd. I mean, to suggest that the threat should be characterized in partisan philosophical terms is ridiculous. We had a national convention here in the Twin Cities this past summer, and the groups that were wanting to, and did, in fact, break up the city were, you know, leftists, were anarchists, were people who were opposed to conservative thinking.

So, at a minimum, it’s unfair. And I think, more candidly and bluntly, it’s absurd.

CAVUTO: But do you notice that it puts your party in a bit of a box, then, because then those who want to remain loyal within the party run way to the right, which, if — if the Obama folks are right, marginalizes you on the main stage after that?

PAWLENTY: Yes, it’s quite insidious, Neil, and it’s not limited to just the Democrats.

There is a — kind of a media perspective that, if you’re conservative, you’re somehow, you know, deranged, or you’re somehow deficient, that, if you were a rational, well-thought-of, intelligent person, that you — you couldn’t be a conservative.

So, that’s embedded, I think, as a bias in our media culture more broadly. And it’s insidious, and it’s unfair, and I think they should be called on it.

And I — I heard your report earlier that Secretary Napolitano at least partially apologized. They should fully apologize.

CAVUTO: Well, we had a — a — a conservative radio host here who — who — who all but said: Look, I see where this is going. If you’re on the right, you’re wrong, and you’re a target.

Are you?

PAWLENTY: Well, you know, the — we get the label of extremist.

You know, you saw it earlier — in the earlier decades, they always say, well, the religious right. Well, there’s also in this country a religious left. And, so, if you’re going to express concerns like that, at least express them fairly.

But it’s worse than that. I think this is a stigmatizing label. It kind of implies, in fact, asserts, that, if you’re conservative, you’re, you know, dangerous, reckless, deficient.

And it’s — it’s really insulting.

CAVUTO: You know, you — you have argued for quite some time, Governor, that Democrats are getting kind of cavalier, if not cocky, in their approach to things, taking far more from this election mandate than was given them.

I talked to an Obama supporter yesterday in Sacramento for these tax protests who said, essentially: I voted for Barack Obama. I voted for more government. I didn’t vote for this much more.

That’s kind of your argument for the Democrats potentially torpedoing themselves. Could you explain that?

PAWLENTY: Well, and, in fact, I saw that coverage, and I thought your little blue and white windbreaker was quite natty, of you, nattily — you were nattily dressed.


CAVUTO: Well, I got — I got that — well, you know, the windbreaker was the least of my criticisms, but...


CAVUTO: You know, the millions in that audience...


CAVUTO: ... probably tens of millions live in that audience — I would dare say maybe 100 million — they didn’t — they didn’t have a problem with the windbreaker.


PAWLENTY: I’m just pulling your chain, Neil.

CAVUTO: That’s quite OK, Governor. That’s all right. Just pile on.

PAWLENTY: Neil, I’m just pulling your chain. Now, you lighten up on the windbreaker.

CAVUTO: Pile one, because this was going to be a nice last couple of minutes of this interview, but you wanted to go there. Away we go.


CAVUTO: But continue to this point about the Democrats.

PAWLENTY: The point I wanted to make is that it may actually inure to the benefit of conservatives and Republicans, because they will overplay their hand.

That will boomerang on them in ways that will give conservatives not only passion and energy, but also will reopen a window of opportunity, if we can do it responsibly, to govern again. And, so, in some ways, it may be an opportunity.

CAVUTO: All right. I had no problem with that jacket, by the way.

I’m offended. My wife is offended.

PAWLENTY: I’m just teasing you. I’m teasing you.

CAVUTO: My daughter is offended. I think my daughter bought me that jacket, so nice — nice going there.


PAWLENTY: Oh, now you’re — now you’re — now you’re...


CAVUTO: Two very big fans of yours have been very much alienated.

You better pray none of us moves to Minnesota.


CAVUTO: Now, speaking of Minnesota, what’s the Norm Coleman deal? Is this thing now done? Is Al Franken your next senator?

PAWLENTY: No, I don’t think it is done, Neil.

I think it’s going to go to the Minnesota Supreme Court in short. Norm has raised the question, how can you legally have one county count ballots under one standard and a different county count ballots under a different standard? That’s a violation of equal protection.

And he wants that question answered. And I think it’s a fair question. And, so, it’s going to go on for a little while longer.

CAVUTO: Are you going to run for president?


PAWLENTY: I’m still thinking about wrapping up my legislative session.

And I also have not closed the door, and, in fact, I’m going to decide about running for a third term for governor here shortly. So, that’s on my agenda and horizon, not the other things.

CAVUTO: All right, because a lot of your fans are starting on the — want to start all these PACs, or whatever you do as a precursor to running.

Are you encouraging them, discouraging them?

PAWLENTY: I am — I’m genuinely just focused on my business at hand in the legislature and being governor. I have not given that a thought.

CAVUTO: All right.

PAWLENTY: And got to — first things first, Neil.

CAVUTO: All right.

Well, Governor, I wouldn’t have asked these questions if you didn’t jump nasty on the jacket thing.




PAWLENTY: You’re just mad about the jacket. I’m sorry.

CAVUTO: Yes, I am. Yes, I am.

CAVUTO: Governor, very good seeing you. Always a pleasure. Thank you, sir.

PAWLENTY: All right. Very good.

CAVUTO: Governor Pawlenty. All right.

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