Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), who is exploring a run for president, is headed to the backyard of another potential GOP contender, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — with Pawlenty set to appear at a Tea Party rally in Boston on tax day, April 15.
The Boston Globe reports:
The speech will bring Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota, to the home state of a potential rival for the 2012 GOP nomination, Mitt Romney.
It also puts him in a Tea Party spotlight enjoyed last year by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who was the event’s 2010 keynote speaker.
“Governor Pawlenty’s leadership in Minnesota has put his state on a course towards economic success,” said a statement issued by Christin Varley, the group’s president. “His is a message voters need to hear.”
Obviously, an important thing to look out for is whether Pawlenty will take any shots (veiled or overt) at Romney on his home turf.
In the past, Pawlenty has criticized the Massachusetts health care reform, though without naming Romney directly. That plan’s distinguishing characteristic is an individual mandate for people to purchase health insurance, combined with subsidies for lower earners — that is, the same fundamental mechanism as the federal health care reform that Republicans now call “ObamaCare” and attack as socialized medicine.
Romney has tried to deflect this issue by differentiating his state-level program from a wider federal government approach, as in a recent speech: “Our experiment wasn’t perfect—some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change. One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover.”
The Tea Party faithful may not too receptive to that line, however. Their invite to Pawlenty, another GOP contender, certainly suggests that will be the case.