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Minn. leader stumps for McCain, Hackett

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs an autograph for Christopher Dolan on Saturday at the Republican Victory Center in Dallas, headquarters for 10th Congressional District candidate Chris Hackett and U.S. Sen. John McCain.

AIMEE DILGER/THE TIMES LEADER

DALLAS – Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty Saturday told approximately 60 volunteers gathered at the Republican Victory Center that it’s their hard work that wins elections.

Pawlenty, 47, was in town to stump for presumptive Republican presidential candidate Arizona Sen. John McCain and he offered words of support for Chris Hackett, the GOP candidate for Congress in the 10th District.

“I thank you all for coming out here on a beautiful Saturday to make calls on behalf of two fine candidates,” Pawlenty said. “John McCain is the leader this country needs and Chris Hackett is an outstanding candidate for Congress.”

Hackett was pleased with Pawlenty’s words and his presence in the region.

“It’s a terrific reflection on just how important Pennsylvania and this area are in this election,” Hackett said. “We are honored to have Gov. Pawlenty come here and spend so much time meeting people.”

Pawlenty shook hands, posed for pictures and listened to compliments and concerns as he prepared for his next stop in Factoryville, where he announced the Pennsylvania Sportsmen for McCain coalition leadership team at the Factoryville Sportsmen’s Club Lake Winola Road. He also stopped in Tamaqua, Bethlehem, Allentown and Philadelphia.

Pawlenty took time to talk about McCain and why the Arizona senator should become the 44th U.S. president.

“These are critical times for our country and we need a leader who will always put his country first,” Pawlenty said. “John McCain’s character has been tested in ways other politicians can only imagine. Voters will choose who they feel has the best qualifications to be president, commander-in-chief and leader of the free world and that choice is clear – John McCain.”

Pawlenty noted McCain’s early support to put more troops on the ground in Iraq and how he was critical of the Bush administration’s delay in mounting the military surge. “John McCain was right,” Pawlenty said. “He was spot-on out of the gate. He possesses the knowledge to make clear, decisive decisions.”

Pawlenty then said there are two questions for Sen. Barack Obama – the presumptive Democratic nominee.

“What have you done, Sen. Obama? What have you run?” Pawlenty said. “The answers are not much and nothing.”

Asked his opinion on Obama’s selection of Delaware Sen. Joe Biden as his vice presidential candidate, Pawlenty said the Illinois senator picked “a mentor” as his running mate.

“There’s only one commander-in-chief,” Pawlenty said. “A mentor can’t be your vice president.”

Pawlenty said he agreed with Biden, who during the campaign when Biden was still a presidential candidate, said Obama didn’t have the requisite experience to be president.

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