Tim Pawlenty keeps having to back away from his tough guy talk. This time, he was caught making up nonsense in Tennessee about facing down "the unions" in the "longest transit strike in the history of the United States."
That certainly would have been a feat worth bragging about to the room-full of union-hating Republicans, but either T-Paw can't Google, or he can't add. (Or maybe he just flat-out lied, but we'd like to think better of his family values.)[jump]
In Minnesota, he said, "the longest transit strike in the history of the United States of America shut down the bus system for 44 days because our bus drivers thought it was okay to work for just 15 years and then have the government pay for their health insurance for the rest of your life."
Sure he busted the bus drivers down a peg. Isn't that enough to prove your anti-union cred? Evidently not. The fact is that the longest transit strike in American history took place more than 30 years ago in Philadelphia, where workers walked off the job for 108 days.
The second longest? Honolulu, in 1967, when bus drivers went on strike for 68 days. And then there was the L.A. transit strike of 1958, which lasted 54 days.
So there was Team Pawlenty, still smarting from the candidate ducking a fight with Mitt over Obamneycare at the GOP debate in New Hampshire, now having to walk back on another case of schoolyard braggadocio -- this time by sneaking reality into a campaign add.
OK, they admitted, it was only "one of the longest" transit strikes in American history, and their man didn't actually make history. And by the way, this wass the same speech in which he insisted a Republican can win the White House by projecting "clarity about our position and that we mean what we say."
You'd think a guy campaigning on "A Time For Truth" wouldn't make this stuff up.