Ben Smith reported earlier today:

Contra David Brooks, the first 2012 Republican candidate out the gate on Paul Ryan’s budget studiously avoids hugging it too tightly. The statement from Pawlenty:

Thanks to Paul Ryan in Congress, the American people finally have someone offering real leadership in Washington. President Obama has failed to lead and make tough choices his entire time in the White House. While the budget is going to be debated for several months to come, the more immediate issue we face is President Obama’s plans to raise the debt ceiling next month. That’s a really bad idea. With over $14 trillion debt already, we should not allow Washington’s big spenders to put us further in the hole. We must get our fiscal house in order with real spending cuts and with real structural reforms that stop the spending spree before it bankrupts our country.

That seemed an odd way to characterize a very positive statement. So I e-mailed Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. He said, “I don’t know how [Smith] came to that conclusion. . . . [Pawlenty] is very supportive of Ryan’s direction.” He added, “Also, as statement says, the Governor thinks the upcoming debt ceiling issue is the time to draw a line in the sand.”

Well, chalk up one candidate in Ryan’s corner. And kudos for a smart move by Pawlenty to reach out to the most ambitious Republican budget since . . . well, not since Reagan. Ronald Reagan NEVER proposed anything this bold.