Tim Pawlenty, Off and Running

Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitch Daniels, Haley Barbour, Mike Pence, Rick Santorum, Gary Johnson, Tim Pawlenty make up a perhaps not exhaustive list of possible GOP contenders for the 2012 presidential nod. And while some are just in the thinking about it mode or perhaps testing the waters, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty seems all but announced.

The above video, entitled History is on Our Side, produced by Governor Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC was released just last week and has the all marks of a campaign video. It shows Pawlenty as a hockey player, provides a brief bio that touts his South St. Paul hard scrabble roots and covers his take on conservative commonsense principles as images of Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Rep. Michele Bachmann swirl past. Two hundred and ten seconds of Minnesota Bland might have been a better title. 

On Monday, Governor Pawlenty will wrap up a five city tour of eastern Iowa in Davenport when he speaks to a local Republican group. This visit to Iowa is his fifth to the Hawkeye state since the end of the 2008 Presidential campaign and third this year. And Palwenty will be back in Iowa in less than in mid-August for more fundraising, along with an appearance at the Iowa State Fair.

Pawlenty's Iowa forays have not escaped the national press. This weekend, the New York Times  provided the coverage:

Mr. Pawlenty, 49, is presenting himself as an authentic Main Street conservative, who twice won statewide election as a Republican in a progressive state. He says Republicans need to shed the stereotype that their party is rooted solely in the country club and the board room. He mentions none of his potential rivals by name, of course, but it is not lost on Republicans that he is seeking to become an alternative to Mr. Romney.

Mr. Pawlenty’s visibility has grown in Republican circles since he was a finalist to be Senator John McCain’s running mate in 2008. Asked whether he benefited from not being chosen, Mr. Pawlenty paused for a moment and said, “It seems like Sarah Palin has done very well, having been selected.”

In addition to his Iowa trips, Mr. Pawlenty has visited New Hampshire, the site of the first presidential primary, and has traveled across the country to help Republicans. He has raised more than $2.5 million for his Freedom First political action committee, some of which he is contributing to state and federal candidates.

While Ms. Palin and Mr. Romney have made similar contributions, they have done so from afar. As Mr. Pawlenty finished speaking on the farm outside of Waverly, he pulled a $500 check from his pocket and presented it directly to Bill Dix, a candidate for the Iowa Senate.

On a sultry afternoon, sweat was soaking into Mr. Pawlenty’s white shirt as he spoke with nearly everyone in the crowd of about 100. (He positioned himself by the lunch buffet, so a handshake was an easy stop on the way to the barbecued pork, potato salad and baked beans.)

His conversations and speeches were peppered with homespun one-liners, including the quip about his wife, which he has been telling Minnesota crowds for years.

On federal spending: “Watch the behavior of people at an open bar versus a cash bar. It is very different. That’s all you need to know about government. If you have an open bar, you’re going to have one set of behaviors, and we’ve got to get back — at least partially — to a cash bar.”

On why he believes Democrats have struggled creating jobs: “It’s pretty tough to be pro-job and anti-business. That’s like being pro-egg and anti-chicken. It doesn’t work so well.”

He drew respectable applause at the picnic and a few hours later at a fund-raiser for a Republican candidate in Cedar Rapids, where he had changed into a suit and tie. At each stop, he does not leave until the last hand has been shaken. But the congeniality does not mean that people will automatically sign on if he runs for president, a decision he said he would make early next year.

 

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CPAC Wonders

Here's Minnesota Governor and presumed 2012 GOP Presidential contender Tim Pawlenty encouraging conservatives to emulate Tiger Woods' wife and take a nine iron to big government spending. Perhaps not the best thing to say in the wake of an attack on the Austin, Texas Federal Building yesterday.

 

Then there's Marco Rubio, now the front-runner to win the GOP nomination in the Florida Senate race, refusing to condemn comments made by Glenn Beck and others.

And here's Marco Rubio opening the CPAC conference where he suggests that the 2010 mid-term election is a "referendum on our national identity."

It's curious that conservatives have yet to realize that it is their economic policies have that have us in this straightjacket.

Huckabee Wins Values Voter Straw Poll

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was the first choice of participants in a straw poll held today at the Values Voter Summit sponsored by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council. Huckabee, a Baptist preacher who finished second in total delegates in the GOP nomination contest last year, took 28 percent in the straw poll easily outpacing the other presumed contenders for the GOP nomination in 2012.

Second place was effectively a four-way tie between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who ran for president in 2008 finishing third; Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty; former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee; and Indiana Congressman Mike Pence. Each of these received between between 12.4 and 11.9 percent of the vote.

Rounding out the field were former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the favorite of 6.7 percent of straw poll voters; Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal at 4.7 percent; former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 2.5 percent; Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, with just 2.2 percent.

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Tim Pawlenty All But Announces

Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota spoke on Friday night to the conservative Values Voter Summit hosted by the lobbying arm of the Family Research Council in Washington DC delivering a partisan attack on the policies of the Obama Administration.

The story in the New York Times:

After warming up by discussing his record back home and the importance of faith and values, Mr. Pawlenty, a Republican in his second term as governor, struck at the Democrats' attempts to overhaul the health care system.

"This proposal needs to get killed," Mr. Pawlenty said. "It is a bad idea."

"With all due respect, Mr. President, if we're out of money, stop spending it," he also said.

Mr. Pawlenty also referenced -- and seemed far from upset about -- a new campaign from the Democratic National Committee that he was the first target of. The campaign is titled "Call `Em Out," a reference to Mr. Obama's vow during his address to Congress last week.

The Minnesota governor elicited a standing ovation by retorting, "I'll respond by calling out the president back tonight."

Earlier in the speech, Mr. Pawlenty had stressed his pro-life bona fides, an important topic in a conference sponsored by, among others, the socially conservative Family Research Council.

And he touted his record in Minnesota, where he said he turned a "left-of-center state into a fiscally responsible state."

If that can be done in a state that produced well-known liberals like Hubert H. Humphrey and Walter Mondale, he said, it can be done anywhere.

At a time when his official public events as governor have been few and far between, Governor Pawlenty has been stumping across the country, speaking to GOP audiences and offering the party's critique of Democrats on TV talk shows. Tonight, he all but announced his candidacy for President.

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Diaries

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