In an exclusive interview with The Brody File, Tim Pawlenty and his wife Mary talk about the possibilities of a 2012 presidential run, why he may be a good fit for the country and they also open up in depth about their Christian faith.
It is not often that both of them sit together for a lengthy interview but The Brody File talked to them for nearly an hour in the Minneapolis area on Tuesday. It's also not everyday they talk so deeply about their faith
A feature on the Pawlentys will air sometime after the midterm elections on The 700 Club. But the Brody File is providing a few clips from the interview below. (We are saving many other interesting clips, which we will roll out at in the near future. What you see below is only a portion of the interview. There is so much more)
My impressions? Well, let me just say that Tim Pawlenty doesn't typically talk much about his faith even though it's a central part of his life. Yet in this interview he appears relaxed and very comfortable talking about his faith journey. When Evangelicals hear him, The Brody File thinks they'll find him authentic. The fact that he has a wife who speaks from the heart and is so eloquent about her Christian faith will be a bonus.
Also, I've been with him a number of times and the one thing that always shines through is that he comes across as a regular guy. He's not the slick politician looking to have cocktails at the next fundraiser. Believe me, he's done his share of fundraisers but Pawlenty is the type of guy who would rather lace up the skates and go play some hockey with the boys.
Put it this way: If Pawlenty runs for President (and there's every indication he will) the biggest thing going for him will be his humble, blue collar, working class family roots. He not only has the life story of being a regular guy, he has the authenticity that goes with it. He's believable because he's lived it.
The Pawlentys explain why he may play well in "Blue States" if Pawlenty runs in 2012.
Tim Pawlenty: “I’m a conservative, both fiscally conservative and socially conservative but I’ve been successful in perhaps the most liberal state in the country.”
Tim Pawlenty: "One of the values I think I can help with beyond Minnesota is look, I’ve got an incredibly good I think conservative record. I was just one of four governors in the country named by the Cato Institute to get an A grade in terms of fiscally conservative discipline but I can also present the message in a way that attracts Independents and conservative Democrats not by becoming more like a liberal but by convincing them that it is a good idea to come on board the conservative or Republican cause so having the experience in Minnesota of having to operate in that liberal environment gives me that extra experience or tool that I think would be helpful to the rest of the country.”
Mary Pawlenty: One of the things that I think Tim does particularly well is that he connects with people who are at least considering whether perhaps a more conservative candidate might be one for them so he’s someone who connect with people who are blue collar, people who are really looking for someone whose life experience connects a bit more with theirs and I think it’s a significant part of who he is and his upbringing and so I think he reaches a cross section of people that perhaps sometimes other candidates may not.”
Tim Pawlenty: “I use the example that if you’re walking into a VFW and there are a couple people wearing Carhartt Jackets and playing pool tabs and maybe enjoying an adult beverage and you’re going to come in an explain to them why being a conservative is better for them and they think well you’ve never walked in my shoes Mr. big shot Republican. You guys are all CEO’s or Wall Street bankers or whatever their stereotype is. It’s not accurate or fair and I can say as a starting point yes I’ve walked in your shoes. I know what that’s like. I’ve been in a position similar to yours. I’ve lived that life and let me tell you now why being a conservative or being a Republican is actually better for the country, for you and for your family and so it gives you not only an icebreaker or a door opener but it allows you the chance to connect on a heart and gut level.”
The Pawlentys say social issues and traditional marriage are extremely important:
Tim Pawlenty: “It’s pretty clear that the most important issue facing the nation that we need to address now is the economy and jobs. No doubt about that but we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. That doesn’t mean that the other issues are going to be left unaddressed or ignored. It just means we need to put some priorities and some focus now on jobs and the economy. Everybody understands that but we also need to remain committed to our other values and principles and I think people in these positions need to be able to multi-task and be able to do more than one thing at a time.”
Mary Pawlenty: “We need to understand that our relationship with God is extremely important and how we order ourselves in a moral society is extremely important. It is no small matter to suggest that traditional marriage ought to be redefined. Traditional marriage is incredibly important to who we are as a society, to the family, to how we raise our children so while Tim has correctly indicated that the most important issues right now are jobs and the economy, as importantly is the focus on our families.”
The Pawlentys discuss whether the whole family is ready for the potential 2012 presidential spotlight:
Tim Pawlenty: “It’s a whole other level if you run for national office; but, I was walking the dog with my younger daughter, I don’t know a few months ago, and she says, ‘Dad are you gonna run for President?’ And I said ‘I don’t know honey I’m not sure.’ And she paused for a second and then said, ‘Well just don’t embarrass the family.’ OK. Well at least we got that standard set.”
The Pawlentys on how they met in law school:
Mary Pawlenty: “I remember instantly thinking oh my goodness I thought he was terrific”
Mary Pawlenty: “I thought he had this incredible voice and I thought who is this guy so I was wild about him right away.”
Tim Pawlenty: “Mine’s more simple David. She walked through the Library and I thought wow she’s hot! That was it. Very simple.”
The Pawlentys on their different faith traditions growing up:
Mary Pawlenty: “My tradition was one of early on understanding the importance of a relationship with Jesus and understanding how important it is to intersect your life with your faith and that seemed to me the natural course of things because that was how I was raised and when Tim and I had an opportunity to meet certainly he had a faith in God but his tradition was very different because he was raised in the Catholic faith. I should say the Catholic tradition but our faith was the same in that we both had a fundamental belief in Jesus and who He is and in fact is exactly who He claimed to be.”
Tim Pawlenty: “I grew up in a strong and traditional Catholic family and enjoyed it very much. My mom and dad, grandma, brothers and sisters it’s something we celebrated and worshipped as a family. Once I met Mary and she started sharing her faith I realized our faith was the same. There are very few differences in terms of what we believe. Wooddale (Baptist Church) over the years became an inter-denominational Christian church and so the faith tradition at Wooddale now is that people from different Christian backgrounds can come together and worship in the community of Christ. It’s a very comfortable place so this was a period of transition where Mary came to my church. I went to her church. We shared our faith perspectives with one another in almost complete common ground. With Wooddale being a Christian inter-denominational setting it was a comfortable place for both of us and both of our backgrounds. Leith Anderson is the pastor there. He’s a tremendous teacher and leader and somebody we look to for both personal advice but also he’s just a great teacher of the Bible.”