Off-Broadway rehearsal for Pawlenty?

Minnnesota Governnor Tim Pawlenty, rumored to be on GOP presidential candidfate John McCain’s short list of potential running mates, spoke moments ago at an Iowa GOP campaign headquarters opening in Ames.  Pawlenty had a prop and several salvos to fire at Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Pawlenty warmed up the crowd by telling an "Olie and Lena" joke, then launchhed into his brief remarks.  "The people of Ithe United States of America and the people of Iowa are wise. Voting for Barack Obama for president of the United States, leader of the free world and commander-in-chief is the political equivalent of bungee jumping," Pawlenty said, "especially if you’re a little up there along the way of life and you think it might be a good idea or interesting at the time and then you get the edge of the cliff and look over and you think:  ‘This is not such a wise idea.’"

Pawlenty a few minutes later pulled a prop out of his pocket.  "Barack Obama stood up at a speech recently and said that one of the things that is really important from energy policy from his standpoint is to check the pressure in our tires, so here’s a tire gauge and you can go out in the parking lot here and check your tires.  Now, that’s an interesting thing – – we want you to have good pressure in your tires, you know, it will very mildly add to your fuel efficiency — but checking the air pressure in your tires is not an energy policy for the United States of America," Pawlenty said.  The crowd applauded.

Next, Pawlenty made reference to the candidate standing beside him — Congressman Tom Latham — and the topic in McCain’s latest campaign commercial.  "I’ll just close by saying that we have a chance in Congressman Latham and Senator McCain to elect to these offices two people who are authentic, two people who are deeply committed to public service and are doing it because they feel them have something to contribute, not out of a sense of celebrity or, you know, some other motivation," Pawlenty said.

I’m set to interview Pawlenty in a few minutes.  More later.  (Thanks to Eric Johansen for the use of his laptop.)

UPDATE at 4:44 p.m.:  The Obama campaign emailed this in response to Pawlenty’s remarks. “With fewer than 100 days before the election, Senator McCain and his campaign continue to take the low road and resort to negative, desperate, and false attacks. While Senator McCain’s energy plan hands out nearly $4 billion in tax breaks to oil companies and invests almost nothing in new energy sources, Senator Obama’s plan will provide tax rebates to families and create a renewable energy economy in America that will free us from our dependence on foreign oil.” — Obama campaign spokesperson Jenni Lee

UPDATE at 5:05 p.m.:  Here’s the Radio Iowa story (with a 14 minute mp3 at the bottom of Pawlenty’s speech). The story includes Pawlenty’s stiff-arm/answer to questions about the VP search.  "It’s an honor to have your name mentioned amongst many other really fine people, really wonderful people — but I have stopped talking about it because over the weeks and months every time I use one word different than I did the previous day or week then it sets off another round about whether that was something to change the speculation about it all," Pawlenty said, "so I just have stopped visiting about it."

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.


  1. the perfect vp for McCain – another joker. Ask auto industry experts if this and other car tips will save you on gas, and they will tell you absolutely yes. Even if we only save a couple gallons a week, add it up across the country. Since when is energy efficiency a bad move?

  2. Obama’s statement reflected more on how little offshore drilling will do, than with how much car efficiency measures work.
    But if you still doubt the accuracy, you can read how Bush’s own Dept. of Energy says that we can save 20 times as much oil from efficiency measures as there is offshore.

  3. A tire gauge costs about $1. It takes about 5 minutes each month to check and correct tire pressure. But it saves loads of gas, money and even lives.
    I think Pawlenty completely missed the point about properly inflated tires.
    FYI, I am an undecided independent voter.

  4. coolrepublica says

    McCain idea for a gas holiday was shot down by Obama because it was a gimmick. He said that it would only save Americans 30 bucks. So checking my tire pressure saves me a couple gallons a week and it’s a great idea that replaces more production of oil using our coastal waters.
    Again, only in Obamaland would anything that is done or said by Obama great no matter how stupid.
    P.S most cars mileage have nothing to do with tire pressure. 2/3 of cars in America would get zero benefits in mileage from this “gimmick.” FACT.

  5. Yes, I guess when you’re down in the gutter like McCain and Pawlenty, it doesn’t matter what the pressure is in your tires. Keep it up, McCain and Pawlenty. You’ll soon find out that the American people don’t need — and won’t stand for — this kind of “low road” politics from you.

  6. Car tip about properly inflated tires for better gas mileage is something most drivers already know about………’s been touted for decades! Come on Obama, give us a definitive energy POLICY…….not silly known TIPS!!

  7. Pawlenty is another flat-earth guy – if he thinks it will advance his personal agenda. Public Service my eye. Pawlenty hasn’t cared a whit about doing what’s good for the state of Minnesota. His agenda has always been the promotion of Tim Pawlenty first and foremost. All that and he’s mean-spirited too. He can’t wait to get retribution on people who disagree with him. Not suitable for higher office.