Former Minnesota Governor and possible GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty, in a speech delivered to the National Press Club Thursday, strongly defended his former RGA colleague Sarah Palin. The speech, which kicks off a month-long book tour, was delivered to an audience which likely included no small number of her accusers:
Pawlenty slammed Palin critics, who he said made "instant judgments" on the basis of "incomplete facts" in the hours after the Tucson shooting that killed at least six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 13 others.Pawlenty also defended Sarah Palin in a podcast interview with Ed Morrissey Tuesday. While we've never been warm to the idea of Pawlenty as a presidential candidate (he wants to mandate doubling the ethanol blended with gasoline to 20 percent; we believe it should be reduced to 5 percent), he's earned our respect for standing by Gov. Palin while some other GOP presidential hopefuls and leaders have been conspicuously silent in the face of the attacks on her by the political left and their media lapdogs.
"In those early hours and early days, she was falsely accused," Pawlenty said. "People came flat out and blamed her for that incident and the facts, as we know them today, don't bear that out."
Asked whether he would have made a difference in the 2008 presidential contest if his name were on the ballot as vice president rather than Palin, Pawlenty said, "I don't think it was going to matter.
"Once the economy cratered in late summer, early fall of 2008," he said. "I think whoever the Republican candidate turned out to be was likely to lose the election."