Top adviser quits Pawlenty presidential campaign

WASHINGTON Wed Aug 3, 2011 7:43pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty's top policy adviser has left the campaign after less than two months, a Pawlenty spokesman said on Wednesday.

Al Hubbard, a former economic aide to President George W. Bush, had been tapped in June to lead the campaign's policy efforts.

Hubbard "became busy with work and is not operating in the policy role," campaign spokesman Alex Conant said. "We're grateful he gave us the maximum contribution."

Hubbard served as Bush's National Economic Council director and has advised Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who earlier this year decided not to seek the Republican nomination for the right to challenge President Barack Obama in 2012.

Pawlenty, a former Minnesota governor, is fighting low poll numbers and a bland image to remain in the 2012 Republican U.S. presidential field.

Analysts say an August 13 Iowa straw poll is critical for Pawlenty. If he does not win, "he's essentially done," said Steve Deace, a conservative activist in the state.

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Xavier Briand)

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