Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has been presenting himself as the alternative candidate to the “flavor of the day” list of potential presidential candidates. This morning during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa Pawlenty hinted Texas Governor Rick Perry’s star power may be diminished once he gets into the race.
“I’d expect Rick will run,” Pawlenty said. “I think that is increasingly clear. I like him. I’ve traveled with him internationally. We were governors at the same time together and so I have a lot of respect and regard for Rick Perry, but my campaign doesn’t rise or fall as to whether other people do or don’t get into the race. Everybody brings certain strengths and weaknesses to the campaign and, you know, there’s always an early phase of people coming in and getting some initial buzz and then things settle in once you have to do all the interviews and get questioned and have all the articles scrutinize you.
“I know Rick. I think he’ll be a strong candidate, but like I said, my candidacy doesn’t rise or fall depending on whether other people get into the race or not.”
Later this morning Pawlenty will appear at the “Values Voter Bus Tour” stop in Des Moines. The leader of the National Organization for Marriage is on the tour, too — and Pawlenty is one of three candidates who have signed NOM’s pledge, promising to fight efforts to make gay marriage legal. The NOM pledge is much shorter than The Marriage Vow circulated by The Family Leader in early July.
“As to The Family Leader pledge, I certainly support the policy goals of traditional marriage and the pro-life cause, but I thought the wording of that particular pledge was not the right tone and it didn’t express those policy positions in a way that I was comfortable with or that I liked and so even though I supported the policy goals, I wanted to express my support for the pro-life cause and traditional marriage in my own words,” Pawlenty told Radio Iowa this morning. “As to the other pledge, I thought it was worded in an acceptable fashion, so I signed that one.”
I asked Pawlenty if voters are making decisions in 2012 based on these issues, or whether people are more focused on the economy. “Republican voters in Iowa and across the country are very concerned about the economy and jobs. Obviously, that’s one of the most pressing issues facing our nation,” Pawlenty replied. “I’ve got the most specific pro-job, pro-investment plan of any candidate in the race, but many voters also are interested in other issues including pro-life issues and marriage issues and health care and public employee compensation and illegal immigration and much more. And that’s why I’ve got a good message to share with Iowans because I’ve got a record on all of these things of advancing those issues and getting things done in a way that I think Republicans and conservatives, more broadly, appreciate and support.”