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Pawlenty camp cuts ‘pantsing’ anecdote

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Former Minnesota governor and Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty liked a profile published by the Des Moines Register so much, his campaign staff blasted it out to reporters Friday. Most of it, that is.

The Register article began with former Minnesota House speaker Steve Sviggum recounting a decade-old incident that occurred during the annual House-Senate softball game. According to Sviggum, while he stood at the plate, Pawlenty — then a state legislator — snuck up behind his friend and yanked down Sviggum’s pants.

“There’s press all around, all these senators are all around, and I’m standing there with my softball pants around my knees,” Sviggum told the Register. “Luckily I was wearing some shorts.”

However, Pawlenty’s campaign apparently decided that the softball story might not reflect positively on the candidate. A partial version of the piece sent to reporters omitted any mention of Pawlenty’s “pantsing” of a fellow state official. Instead, the edited story started with the third paragraph: “ . . . Pawlenty’s good-natured, everyman demeanor during two terms as Minnesota’s governor helped him win the support of independents [. . .]”

That’s not all that was missing. A section of the Register piece under the heading “Pushing legal bounds of governor’s power” was cut, as was a portion questioning the former governor’s economic record.

A link to the full, unedited article was included at the end of the e-mail.

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