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Pawlenty: Obama needs to offer specific economic plan

AMES, IA -- In a media avail after a campaign stop here this morning, the former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said President Obama needs to come out with a specific plan to fix the economy during his remarks this afternoon.

Pawlenty said, "Unfortunately, he spent the first two and a half years of his presidency trying to pass an unconstitutional health-care bill and doing things like trying to shut down the Guantanamo Bay to bring suspected terrorists to the United States. And he should have been working on growing jobs and getting the economy moving and doing the types of things that Standard and Poor's was wanting him to address."

(In fact, what S&P suggested it wanted -- $4 trillion in deficit reduction and a balance of increased revenues and entitlement reform -- was precisely the "grand bargain" Obama wanted to achieve and what congressional Republicans walked away from.)

During his comments to media, Pawlenty also said he does not need to win Saturday's Ames Straw Poll. "Our goal is to move from back of the pack towards the front of the pack. I don't think we need to win it, but I think we need to show some good progress, and I'm confident we will."