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Tim Pawlenty

Former Governor of Minnesota (January 2003-2011)

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Why He Matters

Attention Sam's Club shoppers: Pawlenty wants you. With Republicans engaged in a national debate over the future of the party, the former governor of Minnesota argues the GOP can do a better job addressing the problems facing working people.

Pawlenty had a short-lived candidacy for the presidency but is still seen as a possible running mate for the GOP nominee. This from The Fix’s Chris Cillizza:

“Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, endorsed Romney shortly after getting out of the race in his own right in late August 2011. Pawlenty’s best attribute is his loyalty; his worst is his decided lack of charisma. While Pawlenty would clearly be a safe pick — that’s the main reason he was one of the finalists as Arizona Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008 — it’s hard to imagine that putting Tpaw on the ticket would generate any real excitement either among the GOP base or with independents.”

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Tim Pawlenty cracks jokes about President Obama; explains why he supports Mitt Romney

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty jokes about what he sees as President Obama’s failures. Pawlenty also explains the personal side of Mitt Romney he knows and how Pawlenty has come to support Romney.

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There are lots of reasons why the heavens might not align for a 2016 run for many GOP ‘stars.’

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Tim Pawlenty: Vetting Romney’s potential V.P. candidate

The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza talks about former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s (R) strengths and weaknesses were he to be picked to be Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee.

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At a Glance

  • Career History: Vice Chairman, Republican Governor's Association (July 2009-2011); Former Governor of Minnesota (January 2003-2011); Vice President of corporate development, Wizmo Inc. (2000 to 2001); Majority Leader (1999 to 2002); Minnesota House of Representatives (1992 to 2002); Eagan City Council (1990 to 1992); Eagan Planning Commission (1988 to 1989); Lawyer, Rider, Bennett, Egan and Arundel (1986 to 2000)
  • Birthday: November 27, 1960
  • Hometown: Eagan, Minn.
  • Alma Mater: University of Minnesota, B.A., 1983; J.D., 1986
  • Spouse: Mary
  • Religion: Protestant
 

Path to Power

Pawlenty's brand of conservatism is rooted in his upbringing in the meatpacking neighborhood of South St. Paul, Minn., where his father worked as a Teamsters truck driver.

"People used to tease us because the town had a certain smell to it," Pawlenty recalled to The New Republic in 2008. "They'd say, 'God, something smells so bad.' We'd say, 'What are you talking about?' We didn't notice." When he was 16, Pawlenty's mom died of cancer and around the same time, his father lost his job. As a teenager, he delivered newspapers and stocked shelves at a grocery store, and paid his own way through college and law school at the University of Minnesota.

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The Issues

Pawlenty's flavor of conservatism calls for providing opportunities to citizens while emphasizing the need for individual responsibility. "I worked my tail off," Pawlenty told Minnesota Public Radio in 2002. "I have kind of this attitude that if you're able-bodied and able-minded, you should get some fair shakes in life. You should have access to a good education, you should hopefully have access to a good job market. But if you're able-bodied and able-minded, you also gotta work hard."

In a 2006 press conference, he said that people expected certain basic things from government, but "other than that" their attitude was "get out of my face."

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The Network

In 2008, when Pawlenty was being touted as a possible running-mate for McCain, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza wrote, "For a guy who has spent six years in the governor's office and was a leader in the state House before winning that post in 2002, Pawlenty has an almost non-existent political operation either in the state or nationally." As evidence of this, Cillizza noted that even though Pawlenty backed McCain early, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clobbered McCain by 19 points in the Minnesota's February 2008 caucuses.

Despite having passed him over for the veep slot, McCain still speaks warmly of Pawlenty. Asked in a March 2009 appearance on "Meet the Press" whether he'd endorse his former running-mate Palin if she were to run for president in 2012, McCain was non-committal but named Pawlenty as one of the "very good" potential candidates. Should Pawlenty run in 2012, a McCain endorsement would be one possible way for him to build a national network.

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Additional Resources

  1. Andy Birkey, "Pawlenty and the evangelicals: Where he stands on religious right hot-button issues," Aug. 1, 2008
  2. Jonathan Kaminsky, "Tim Pawlenty: Jilted for Sarah Palin," City Pages, Sept. 2, 2008
  3. Minnesota Republican Caucus Results
  4. Rucker, Phil, The Washington Post, Tim Pawlenty announces presidential bid, offers himself as alternative to Romney, May 23, 2011
  5. Laura McCallum, "Profile: Tim Pawlenty," Minnesota Public Radio, Sept. 13, 2002
  6. Noam Scheiber, "Extreme Makeover," The New Republic, June 25, 2008
  7. Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, The Almanac of American Politics 2006, National Journal Group, 2005, p.901
  8. Andy Birkey, VP or not VP: A Pawlenty pick leads McCain to 30 million evangelicals, The Minnesota Independent, June 10, 2008
  9. Monica Davey, "Pawlenty Looks to National Stage," The New York Times, Aug. 7, 2008
  10. Tim (Timothy J) Pawlenty, Governors of Minnesota, Minnesota Historical Society
  11. Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, The Almanac of American Politics 2006, National Journal Group, 2007
  12. DURENBERGER, David Ferdinand, Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress
  13. Hancock, Jason, The Iowa Independent, Pawlenty takes first step toward 2012 bid, June 16, 2010
  14. CPAC Speech, February 28, 2009
  15. Chris Cillizza, "The Case Against Tim Pawlenty," The Fix, The Washington Post, Jun. 20, 2008
  16. Cato Institute Fiscal Policy Report Card on America's Governors: 2008
  17. Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, The Almanac of American Politics 2008, National Journal Group, 2007
  18. "GOP must lure 'Sam's Club Republicans,'" Associated Press, Aug. 5, 2008
  19. Noam Scheiber, "Extreme Makeover," The New Republic, Jun. 25, 2008
  20. Stephanie Kudrle, " Pawlenty signs pledge to back marriage amendment," mndaily.com, May 4, 2004
  21. Bakst, Brian, The Associated Press via The Washington Post, Minn.'s Pawlent Ups Challenge to Federal Health Law, Nov. 11, 2010
  22. Adam Nagourney, "As Governors Meet, McCain Comes Calling," The New York Times, Dec. 1, 2006
  23. Tim Pugmire, "State predicts $2 billion budget surplus over next three years," Minnesota Public Radio, Nov. 29, 2006
  24. Steven Ertelt, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty Appoints Pro-Life Advocate to Head Supreme Court, LifeNews.com, Mar. 17, 2008
  25. Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, The Almanac of American Politics 2006, National Journal Group, 2005, p. 902
  26. Barr, Andy "Tim Pawlenty: Voters 'Ticked Off and Scared,'" Politico, August 20, 2009
  27. Andy Birkey, VP or not VP: A Pawlenty pick leads McCain to 30 million evangelicals, The Minnesota Independent, Jun. 10, 2008
  28. Mark Zdechlik, "Budget bills are signed; spin control continues," Minnesota Public Radio, July 14, 2005
  29. John Fund, "Minnesota's Vice Presidential Contender," The Wall Street Journal, Aug. 9, 2008
  30. Laura McCallum, "Profile: Tim Pawlenty," Minnesota Public Radio, Sept. 13, 2002
  31. Kirk Johnson, "In Minnesota Shift, Case Study For National Political Shake-Up," The New York Times, Dec. 29, 2006
  32. Associated Press, "Minnesota Government Shuts Down," Jul. 1, 2005
  33. Press Release, "Governor Pawlenty Named Chair of the National Governors Association," Jul. 23 2007
  34. Dan Hirschhorn, "Rendell takes NGA reins from Pawlenty," Politicker.com, Jul. 14, 2008
  35. Minnesota Management and Budget, February 2009 Highlights
  36. Interview, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Feb. 22, 2009
  37. Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, The Almanac of American Politics 2006, National Journal Group, 2005, p. 901
  38. Michael Barone with Richard E. Cohen, The Almanac of American Politics 2006, National Journal Group, 2005, pp. 901
  39. "Gov. Tim Pawlenty on the stimulus bill," Public Radio International, Feb. 18, 2009
  40. Monica Davey, "Pawlenty Looks to National Stage," The New York Times, Aug.7, 2008
  41. "Meet the Press" transcript for March 29, 2009
  42. Tom Scheck, "Senate passes 24-hour abortion waiting period," Minnesota Public Radio, Apr. 14, 2003
  43. CPAC Speech, Feb. 28, 2009