Republican Pawlenty says may make 2012 White House run

WASHINGTON Mon Jul 26, 2010 3:38pm EDT

Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican from Minnesota, speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) during their annual meeting in Washington, February 19, 2010. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican from Minnesota, speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) during their annual meeting in Washington, February 19, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said on Monday he will decide early next year whether to run for president in 2012 and that at this point he believes Democratic President Barack Obama is beatable.

In an interview, Pawlenty said he is spending the rest of this year serving out his second term as governor and helping elect Republicans to the U.S. Congress and as state governors in November 2 elections.

"Then I will make a decision about my future early next year, 2011," said Pawlenty. "Whether that includes running for national office or not remains to be seen. But it's something I'm open to, but I don't know for sure what I'm going to do."

Pawlenty was on Republican John McCain's short list of candidates to be the vice presidential nominee in 2008. That position ultimately went to Sarah Palin for a ticket that Obama defeated.

Pawlenty, 49, said his 2012 decision would not hinge on whether Palin or former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney decide to make a presidential run. Both are keeping the door open.

Pawlenty, who has already traveled to the early voting states of New Hampshire and Iowa to test the waters, said voters are telling him they are concerned about the weak U.S. economy, high jobless rate and government spending.

The November elections are likely to serve as a referendum on the leadership of Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress, he said.

"I think the country is going to send the president and congressional leaders a message that's going to basically say, 'this isn't what we bargained for in the '08 elections, you've overplayed your hand and now we're going to recalibrate this and bring some balances back to the system so that you can't be a runaway liberal train,'" Pawlenty said.

Political analysts believe Republicans are poised to make gains in the November elections, possibly winning the House of Representatives and picking up seats in the Senate.

Is Obama beatable, if he runs for re-election in 2012 as expected?

"That remains to be seen," Pawlenty. "At the moment, it wouldn't look that difficult. He's kind of beating himself. But a lot can happen in two and a half years in politics."

"And anybody who says they know what it's going to look like or what's going to happen in 2012 I think is being presumptuous. But at the moment he does not look that strong from a re-election standpoint," he said.

Obama's job approval rating is between 45 and 50 percent and he gets lackluster ratings for his handling of the economy. Analysts believe a surge in job growth would help his re-election.

Pawlenty, just back from visiting U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, criticized the Obama administration's July 2011 date for beginning a troop withdrawal, saying it can lead to "corrosive consequences on the ground."

"If you signal that we're not going to be there or begin to leave on a date in the not-too-distant future, all sorts of people and entities begin to hedge their bets," he said.

(Editing by Vicki Allen)

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Comments (3)
bally_1 wrote:
Put anybody in white house come 2012,American dream is probably gone forever,America must now face realities of 21st century,which include;national debt,social security,racism,war on terror,healthcare,internal wranglings,illegal immigration,legal/illegal emigration-many Americans are fleeing America.
America is slipping back as a world leader.America must learn to share power, America can’t afford the cost of war anymore, whoever does will dictate the tune.

Jul 26, 2010 5:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TylerTX wrote:
give me a break the american dream is not dead. Whose fleeing america? Have some confidence, man.

Jul 26, 2010 5:37pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
mjimih wrote:
I’m from MN. he is disliked here. Minnesota is a blue state mostly, always has been. This lawyer comes in and lowers our standard of living. He’s a tax hawk. He makes property owners, most of whom are not at all rich, pay the brunt of new revenue commitments (Because he is making the cities and state more broke). If he wasn’t such a smart lawyer, he wouldn’t have been able to take Minnesota into debt with all those fancy maneuvers in the State Capital to avoid “raising taxes”. One thing he would do is say he would propose a compromise on a piece of legislation and when the vote deadline approaches, waiting until the very last minute and then springs a non-compromising proposal on the left, allowing NO time for debate or changes, for an equitable compromise. Because of the deadline (special sessions are too expensive) and desperate for progress, the people of Minnesota feel they have to pass something at least.

I hope he runs for president so us reasonable Minnesotans can tell the rest of the world what he really is, another “trickle-downer”.

Jul 26, 2010 12:19am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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