Former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty gathered in the basement of the lovely Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC this morning to shake hands and preach to the crowd of 30-40 Republican Jews, most from our great state of Minnesota.
Over a breakfast of eggs, kosher sausage and spiced potatoes, the two spoke fondly of their personal and political support for Israel, and Former Senator Norm Coleman hinted (not too subtly, mind you) at the kind of leadership we really needed in Washington, DC right now.
Then he introduced Governor Pawlenty.
Coleman spoke about AIPAC, and the importance of taking action to protect Israel’s security and safety. He said later “I didn’t mean to give a speech,” but he didn’t let that stop him. Coleman told the crowd:
“I don’t know if there is a more important time for AIPAC, for you to be coming from all over the country and meeting with elected leaders. This is it. The threat to Israel’s existence with Iran getting a nuclear weapon is an existential threat.
This issue is close to my heart. My parents’ generation were there for the founding of the state of Israel. For those of us baby boomers, it was a part of our existence, you didn’t even think about it. You worry about the next generation.”
Coleman introduced Gov. Pawlenty as an “incredible person.” Perhaps even the kind of leader who was needed in offices outside of (and more powerful than) those in Minnesota. Coleman continued:
We need responsibility at two levels. On the level of leadership, and, the folks here. A leader without followers is a guy taking a walk. I look at the challenges that Israel faces today, and I think about what kind of leadership is needed to meet those challenges. You got to be smart, but also have resolve. You need folks who are there. Who have a clear vision. How we respond to Israel is a reflection of who we are as a people.
People ask me why I’m thin. It’s because I worry a lot. But if Pawlenty was in charge, I’d never lose a night of sleep on the issue of Israel.
Gov. Pawlenty then spoke about American values of freedom, human rights, security, the importance of a limited and effective government, and the problems with Washington. He also graced a dinner for AIPAC high rollers last night (you had to have given $25,000 to attend). Click here to read Pawlenty’s full remarks – on everything from the U.S. – Israel relationship, to Iranian nukes – from that event.
[For more of TC Jewfolk's Exclusive Coverage - with interviews, commentary, and congressional tidbits - of AIPAC's 2010 Policy Conference in Washington, DC, click here]
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)