Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty often says the GOP should be more economically populist, saying it should be the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club. He referred to the "Sam's Club Republicans" in his Thursday night address to the RNC in his home state. Following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery.
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GOV. TIM PAWLENTY, R-Minn.:
We're so glad we're in Minnesota.
How do we measure the content of a person's character? How do we recognize their fitness to serve?
Barack Obama gives a good speech.
But the best sermons aren't preached, they're lived.
John McCain's whole life is a testimony to service, duty, courage and common sense. John McCain has walked the walk, and he has always put our country first!
When he showed guts and courage as a Prisoner of War, John McCain put our country first!
When he stood up to special interests, and fought against earmarks and pork-barrel spending in Congress, John McCain put our country first!
When he saw the need to change strategy in Iraq and boldly called for the surge, John McCain put our country first!
When he responded to our energy crisis with an all-of-the-above energy plan, John McCain put our country first!
And when John McCain is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, we know he will always put our country first!
We've seen in this man the very best our country has to offer.
I recently traveled with John to Iraq, a nation whose destiny he helped change.
I saw first-hand how he loves and admires our troops.
And I saw how they love and admire him.
They know how he personally understands the costs of war.
They also know how committed he is to doing whatever it takes to ensure they come home with honor and victory.
We live in a dangerous world.
With John McCain as President, there will be no misunderstanding about where America stands and what we stand for.
John McCain is tough — but he's also compassionate. I've gotten to know John, and I can tell you he is a Purple Heart recipient with a heart of gold.
He understands the concerns of everyday Americans like you and me.
What I like to call "Sam's Club Republicans."
These voters are on a tight budget.
They're looking for value and accountability at the store. And they're looking for value and accountability from their government.
John McCain connects with Sam's Club voters.
He gets it.
He will force government to live within its means, just like families do.
He knows that small businesses are the job growth engine for our country.
He knows the last thing they need is MORE taxes.
John also understands that health care costs are budget busters for too many American families.
He'll provide help but will put consumers and their doctors in charge, not the federal government.
John also knows it's getting tougher for us to afford to fill-up at the pump.
His energy plan is classic McCain – bold and aggressive.
In this time, we don't need a president who can just read a poll or momentarily thrill a crowd.
We don't need rhetoric or empty promises.
We need a president who has the integrity and courage to make the tough choices so America will be stronger and safer.
I believe the times call out great leaders.
This time, our time, calls out for John McCain.