Republican presidential contender Tim Pawlenty said he can unite the party and defeat President Obama in 2012.
"I’m a new face. I’ve got a record in Minnesota for cutting taxes, cranking down on spending, reforming entitlement programs, market-based not government-based health care reform and much more," he told CNBC Friday.
"I like the fact that the race isn’t settled yet because that gives me time to get my campaign message out, and as we do we’re getting support in those early states."
Pawlenty, Minnesota's governor for the past eight years, said he's told Iowa audiences he wants to cut ethanol subsidies, talked in Florida about reforming Social Security and visited New York to tell business leaders "what it's going to take to get Wall Street to take its snout out of the trough."
He's blunt, he said, because "it’s time for the truth."
"If we’re just gonna send people to Washington that are going to continue the status quo, any doofus can do that and I’ll go play hockey and drink beer," he said. "I think it’s important that we campaign like we’re gonna govern and govern like we campaign. Otherwise you’re a hypocrite and that’s why people don’t like politicians."
The Pawlenty platform includes encouraging GDP growth, cutting business taxes, repatriating overseas profits through a tax holiday and repealing the Obama health-care law, among other planks. On Social Security he favors raising the early and regular retirement ages and means-testing the cost of living adjustment.
"If you’re wealthy you’re not going to get your cost of living adjustment but if you’re middle income or lower income, you will," he said.