Pawlenty talks oil spill, immigration at U

Pawlenty was interviewed by NBC's David Gregory of Meet the Press.

Mukhtar Ibrahim

Gov. Tim Pawlenty sounded off on a number of controversial topics Thursday in an interview with Meet the Press host David Gregory at the University of Minnesota. Pawlenty said he supports the Tea Party movement, and that those involved are âÄúmostly folks who are average Americans who want the country and the government to return to American common sense.âÄù When asked if he would repeal the new federal health care reform, he said he would and would replace it with something better. He called the reform âÄúone of the misguided pieces of legislation in the modern history of the country.âÄù âÄúI think it is going to fail, largely,âÄù he said. Some of the conversation focused on the federal governmentâÄôs handling of the oil spill crisis, which Pawlenty criticized. While itâÄôs too early to place blame with the lack of information available, he said, âÄúWe need to hold this administration and BP accountable. But as we do that, we need to make sure we have good information and good facts.âÄù âÄúWhy did they rely just on BP early on to tell us to what the volume of the leak was?âÄù Pawlenty asked. âÄúWhy didn’t we independently verify that using government sources?âÄù He said he is glad that the president is âÄúassuming responsibility and accountability,âÄù though the government should have reacted more quickly. The governor voiced support for ArizonaâÄôs new immigration law, which allows police to check the immigration status of those they suspect have entered the country illegally. However, he was critical of the media coverage of the new law. If someone is stopped and âÄúYou have a reasonable suspicion that they may be here illegally,âÄù Pawlenty said, âÄúYou can inquire and should inquire about their immigration status.âÄù In response to GregoryâÄôs question of whether this is an invitation to commit unlawful racial profiling, Pawlenty said, âÄúNo.âÄù âÄúI like his conviction, his courage,âÄù said Paul Hamilton, a Coon Rapids financial consultant and self-proclaimed Democrat. âÄúI donâÄôt like his policy, but that is a personal choice. That is why we have a democracy.âÄù Pawlenty declined to give a forthright answer if he would run for president.