May 26. 2011 10:36PM

Pawlenty says honesty now badly needed

Union Leader Correspondent

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Republican candidate for President, campaigns at Cirtronics Corp. in Milford Thursday. Nancy Bean Foster 
MILFORD — Promising honest debates about the nation’s most serious problems, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty paid a visit to Cirtronics Corporation on Thursday afternoon.

On Monday, the former two-term Republican governor officially joined the race for the White House during a stop in Iowa. Dubbing his campaign kick-off as the “Time for Truth” tour, Pawlenty told invited guests and Cirtronics employees that it’s time to get honest about what’s wrong in America.

“People say that if political leaders are too honest, they’ll lose the election,” said Pawlenty. “But I say that if we’re not honest enough, we’ll lose our country.”

Pawlenty said that with spending, especially for entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security spinning out of control, someone needs to take a stand, but President Obama is simply, “ducking, bobbing, and weaving.”

To avoid automatic cuts that were “baked in” to Social Security that would snap into effect should the program become insolvent, Pawlenty said people needed to seriously consider raising the retirement age and bringing in means testing for cost of living adjustments.

As for health care, Pawlenty called the health care legislation passed in Washington last year, “the worst piece of legislation in the history of the country.”

When asked by a member of the audience how he felt about the Right to Work legislation currently being debated in Concord, Pawlenty said his family had deep roots in unions, and that he himself had once been a union member. But he said he has come to dislike the “out of control and excessive nature unions have taken on in this country.”

“Any organization that tells you … (that) you must belong to a group is offensive to me,” he said.

In answer to a question regarding Israel, Pawlenty said that President Obama has asked the Israelis to establish undefendable borders and to put their security at risk.

“You can’t just impose things on Israel,” Pawlenty said. “We have to stand shoulder to shoulder with Israel.”