Is Tim Pawlenty Preparing His Website For The Vice Presidential Nomination?

 Bookmark and Share  Most people have little if any reason to visit TimPawlenty.com, but if you are one of the very limited stream of visitors to the official website of the former Minnesota Governor and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, than you have been surprised to find that the long standing platitudes for conservatism, apple pie, coffee, and all things American , have been replaced by a “Coming Soon Page” that features a blank white screen with four small words that simply read  “Please come back later.”

Whether Pawlenty is just conducting some useful site maintenance on his otherwise useless website, or handing control of the site and its future content to the campaign of Mitt Romney in preparation of Pawlenty’s accepting Romney’s vice presidential nomination is unknown.  Calls from White House 2012 regarding the status of the site that were made to several aides and former staffers of Pawlenty’s presidential campaign and his Nation First PAC have received a range of inconclusive responses that claimed the “Coming Soon Page” is up as the site undergoes some retooling.  However; attempts to determine exactly what it is being retooled for remains undetermined.

At a time when who Mitt Romney will pick as his running mate remains the only cause of suspense left in the presidential campaign, aside from who will the election, every move of every individual who might be under consideration for Vice President will be seen as a signal but in this case, one can’t help but question the timing.  Almost a year since he dropped out of the race for President, T-Paw finally decides to retool his website and put in its place a “Coming Soon” page that urges people to come back and revisit, appears at the same time that we all know Mitt Romney’s decision on who his nominee for Vice President will be is also “coming soon”.

Now this could very well be coincidental but my political experience has taught me that in politics coincidences are events which politicians actually put on their schedules.  In politics, coincidence is a convenient excuse which allows the most unlikely set of circumstances to come together and seem like the most natural  string of events.  That stated, even though I have recently indicated that I am of the opinion that Mitt Romney will pick South Dakota Senator John Thune as his running mate, I can’t help but wonder if the coincidental timing of Tim Pawlenty’s “Coming Soon” page and Mitt Romney’s “soon to come” decision on a running mate is a more definitive indication of who that running mate will be than is my personal sense of who it will be?

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The Herd: A Look at the Possibile Picking of Tim Pawlenty as Romney Vice Presidential Running Mate

Bookmark and Share  The Herd is a special White House 2012 series covering the obvious and not so obvious names that Mitt Romney may consider for Vice President.  Each day, White House 2012 will introduce you to one of the many Republicans which we believe that will  at least be considered for the vice presidency by the now inevitable presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.

In addition to biographical information and a brief assessment of each potential nominee and their chances of being selected by Romney, White House 2012′s coverage also includes each potential nominee’s voting records, as well as a listing of their public statements and links to their web sites.

Today White House 2012 offers a look at former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

Born: November 27, 1960,St. Paul, Minnesota

Spouse(s): Mary Pawlenty

Children :Anna, Mara

Residence :Eagan, Minnesota

Alma mater: University of Minnesota (B.A.), University of Minnesota Law School (J.D.)

Profession:Lawyer

Religion:Baptist

Political Career :

  • Appointed to the the Eagan city’s Planning Commission by then Mayor Vic Ellison
  • Elected to a term on the City Council
  • Campaign advisor for Jon Grunseth’s 1990 losing bid for Minnesota governor
  • 1992; Pawlenty was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives and was re-elected to that seat five times
  • 1988; Pawlenty was elected House Majority Leader when the Republicans became the majority party in the State Legislature
  • 2002; Pawlenty campaigned and won on a pledge not to raise taxes to balance the state’s budget deficit, requiring visa expiration dates on driver’s licenses, a 24-hour waiting period on abortions, implementing a conceal-carry gun law, and changing the state’s education requirements. Pawlenty defeated 2 challengers in the GOP primary and eventually his opponents in the general election.
  • 2006; Pawlenty was reelected Governor of a margin of little more than 1%. This victory was despite DFL gains in both the state House and State Senate and a big gains for Democrats nationally.

(Click here to see Pawlenty’s White 2012 Presidential Page)

Pros:

  • Pawlenty could possibly make Minnesota more competetive for Romney than it currently is and without Minnesota in Obama’s column, it could be hard for Democrats to make up for that loss in the electoral college from another state
  • Pawlenty is a competent speaker
  • Pawlenty is a safe choice who has been somewhat vetted
  • His candidacy would not lead to any distractions from the issues or overshadow Mitt Romney

Cons:

  • Pawlenty does not fire up the base which Romney needs to energize

Overall Assessment:

There is no reason why Tim Pawlenty can’t be on the ticket. However; Pawlenty became one of the first people to declare their candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination and he became the first to withdraw from the race for the Republican presidential nomination. And the same reasons which led to his withdrawal from the race may be the same reasons he is not nominated for the vice presidential nomination. Another reason he may not be on the ticket is because he has stated that he is taking himself off the list of candidates for Romney to consider for Vice President, and that he doesn’t even want to consider the position. Still, that doesn’t mean he is not being considered for the job or that he will reconsider his earlier stated thoughts.

Pawlenty campaigned long and hard. His campaign team was top notch and his campaign was initially financed fairly well and he did just about everything right. He had a good message, well done ads, and a good strategy. The only problem seemed to be the messenger. Tim Pawlenty seemed to be the kid in the classroom who always had his hand up while howling “ooh, ooh” but failed to interest anyone in what he had to say. So one day after the Ames Straw poll in Iowa, he dropped out of the race.

Despite those circumstances, Pawlenty is a top quality conservative leader with a great record on social and economic issues and he is an extraordinarily competent executive. Such qualities make Pawlenty a top contender for the vice presidential nomination, at least on paper. He is certainly not the type of running mate that any presidential nominee has to fear being overshadowed by. All this means that Mitt Romney could easily tap Pawlenty for Vice President. He comes from a state that the G.O.P. could use help with and which if they could win, would leave the Obama-Biden ticket in deep trouble. He also appeals to many Midwest voters and lacks much of the luggage that other potential running mates have.

But Romney may want and need a running mate who excites at least one demographic group far more than T-Paw does. Given that fact, even though Pawlenty is a safe choice and Romney likes playing it safe, there are several other potential running mates who are equally as safe as Pawlenty but bring a touch more excitement to the ticket than he does.

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All Ahhhh Board! Tim Pawlenty Endorses Mitt Romney

Bookmark and Share    Today Mitt Romney pulled off one of the first surprising twists to the 2012 Republican presidential nomination contest as former Minnesota Governor and the first former 2012 presidential candidate, Tim Pawlenty, endorsed Romney for President.   The Governor described Mitt as the most knowledgable and capable candidate in the field.

The original announcement came on Fox News’ Fox and Friends in the late morning hours of Monday……..

Pawlenty had promised not to endorse any candidate or assist any candidate in the nomination process but in what was a bit of a surprise, not only did the man who was once trying to aggressively oppose Romney, endorse him, later in the day Mitt Romney announced that T-Paw would serve as a national Co-Chair of the Romney for President campaign.

The endorsement is yet another sign of how succesful Romney is becoming at solidifying establishment support.  It is also a sign that many are beginning to perceive Romney as the person who will ultimately be the winner of the Republican nomination.  Pawlenty’s endorsement signals a “get on board before the train leaves the station” mentality that is building despite the rather big splash that Texas Governor Rick Perry made when he cannonballed into the nomination contest on the day of the Iowa Straw Poll and the day before Pawlenty pulled out of the race.

For his part, Pawlenty is not exactly the most obvious of former rivals to endorse Mitt Romney, especially so early on.  For T-Paw, Romney’s candidacy was one of the biggest hurdles to his own presidential candidacy.  As such, Pawlenty aggressively targeted Romney and his record, particularly Mitt’s Massachusetts healthcare plan which Pawlenty famously called ObamneyCare.  But much worse has been said by former rivals who have later gone on to throw their support behind the winning candidate that they once opposed.  In recent history, the race between President Obama and Hillary Clinton for the 2008 Democrat presidential nomination is a prime example of how politics can make strange bedfelows. 

During the 2008 presidential nomination contest, Clinton oozed derision for Obama.  On one occasion she cracked;

 “Now, I could stand up here and say, ‘Let’s just get everybody together. Let’s get unified. The sky will open. The light will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.'”

The crack was designed to malign the messianic image that many were establishing for then candidate Obama.

During another exchange Clinton stated;

“Sen. Obama’s insistence on repeating attacks that have been demonstrated to be false by independent entities proves once and for all that his speeches about the new politics are just words.”

As for Barack Obama, he took plenty of shots at Clinton.  At one point his campaign even launched a minisite called “Hillary Attacks”. It had the singular purpose of tracking and highlighting Clinton’s negative comments about him.

A year later, candidate Clinton was president Obama’s Secretary of State Clinton.

So there is nothing new with the coming together of former political rivals, but as history shows, the rivals usually ony unite with the winner.  They rarely unite with one another during the election process.  In this case, it is obvious that Pawlenty believes Romney is the winner and he is trying to insure himself a ticket on that gravy train.

Shortly after Pawlenty made his announcement on Fox News, the Romney campaign’s website had posted on it, the following open letter from Pawlenty on their website:

By: Tim Pawlenty

Great crises often produce great leaders. Unfortunately, sometimes the timing isn’t right, and neither is the leader. 

Barack Obama came into office in the midst of a great economic crisis. Although hopes were high, he did not rise to the occasion. Now that the clouds of enthusiasm and excitement have parted, we see he was obviously unsuited for the task at hand.

President Obama has failed to meet America’s economic challenges. 

His three years of spending, regulating and taxing have not restarted the economy. Unemployment remains at a shocking 9.1 percent. Economic growth is hovering on the edge of a renewed recession. 

Abroad, the standing of the United States appears uncertain and adrift under the failed leadership of a president who prefers chastising allies to condemning foes.

Fortunately, America may get a second chance: Mitt Romney is running for president, and I am proud to endorse him. 

Alone among the contenders, he possesses the unique qualifications to confront and master our severe economic predicament. His abiding faith in our country’s exceptional historical position as a beacon of freedom will make him the most important leader in a world that depends upon a strong America to stay at peace.

Having served as Governor of Massachusetts, he turned that state’s budget around from deficit to surplus while simultaneously cutting taxes, but that is not the full measure of what he will bring to the Presidency.  His time in government was a moment of service – a way to give back to our country—following a distinguished career in the private sector, where he launched companies and turned around troubled ones.

When the 2002 Winter Olympics were on the verge of collapse thanks to a bid-rigging scandal, Romney was asked to take over. The attacks of September 11 created a security nightmare. Romney presided over a highly complex security mobilization, addressed the management troubles plaguing the games, and staged one of the most memorable competitions ever seen on American soil.

Romney is running for president because he is deeply committed to our country, troubled by its current condition, and I believe he can turn it around.

He’s formulated an economic plan—a set of alternatives to the government-oriented programs that Barack Obama has put in place—that is unparalleled in the history of American electoral campaigns.  By pressing for fundamental change in the way that Washington taxes and spends, issues regulations, uses energy, interacts with our major trading partners, and deals with our labor force, he fully envisions a way to place America back on the path toward rapid economic growth and full employment.

And at his core, Mitt Romney is a man of great character. He and his wife Ann have been married for more than four decades.  She is the love of his life.  Together, they have five sons and sixteen grandchildren.

But he’s not only a family man, he is a man of principle. He believes in the bedrock conservative ideals of limited government and free enterprise. He will stand up for America’s allies when they are threatened, with fortitude.  And he will face down our adversaries. He is a formidable person, and he will certainly be a formidable president.  Our allies can count on it, and our enemies should expect it. 

Crises indeed produces great leaders.  Sometimes it just takes awhile.

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Palin Disappointed that Pawlenty Dropped Out

Bookmark and Share    Sarah Palin told  NBC’s Alex Moe  that she was disappointed by Pawlenty’s exit from the presidential race.  She adds that Pawlenty is a good man and his staff team is filed with talented people.  In Palin’s statement, while she thinks highly of Pawlenty, she obviously does not think very highly of the Iowa Caucus process and refers to it as “internal political machinery.

According to Plain

“I think we will see more people coming and going” in this campaign cycle. “I hate to see that internal party events would be seen as the barometer for somebody to stay in the race or not. I would love to have seen Pawlenty stay in there and allow the voters to decide not internal political machinery decide who should be in the race and who should not. So I am disappointed that he has dropped out. Pawlenty, he is a good man who worked very hard, had a good record as a governor. He knew how to get along with the boys in the sandbox. He knew when and how to compromise in order to get things done in a blue state – a Republican in a blue state being effective. I have great respect for him and a lot of his staff members too, good guys, good gals. He has a great family. So I really, really hope the best for Gov. Pawlenty; he is a good man, and disappointed that he dropped out.”

Insofar as whether or not Pawlenty’s departure from the race will have an effect on her decision to run or not, Palin stated;

 “No, I think this is more illustration of the comings and goings of a campaign in a very long season of politics. We still have many months to go, and I think we will see more people coming and going.”

In the meantime,  I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that Palin does not run for President but that she eventually comes out and endorses her friend Rick Perry.

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Tim Pawlenty Ends His Presidential Campaign

Bookmark and Share    Before the vote was in on the Iowa Republican Presidential Straw Poll yesterday, White House 2012 put up a poll that asked readers who will drop out of the presidential race due to a poor showing in the poll.  I never expected to get an answer to that question so soon but shortly after former Minnesota Governor Tim Palwenty finished third, he decided to close up shop.  And while I did not expect it, only 11% of those polled by WH12 did anticipate Pawlenty’s withdrawal from the race.

Shortly after disclosing his plans in a private conference call with  ABC’s “This Week” from Iowa  Pawlenty explained “I wish it would have been different. But obviously the pathway forward for me doesn’t really exist so we are going to end the campaign.”

Pawlenty  trailed the straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann, by 2,530 votes or nearly 15%.

In the end, the decision was essentially based upon what he had so far put into the campaign and what he has gotten in return.  Given Pawlenty’s perfectly managed campaign (although his ads were a bit too dramatic) and campaign organization, his aggressive and constant campaigning, the infinitesimal amount of time he dedicated to the campaign, and the money he already spent, it was clear to Pawlenty and his more than competent campaign team, that they just were not getting enough traction.  It was impossible for Pawlenty to do much more than he did, yet he still was registering support only in the single and lower double digits.

In Iowa, alone, Pawlenty invested plenty of money and put together the type of organization that is required to pull out the straw poll voters needed for a win to be possible.  In the end, his third place showing after his first place effort was apparently enough to convince T-Paw that he couldn’t work any harder than he already was working in order to do any better than he did.

Such a decision does not come easy.   After putting as much of yourself into something as much as Tim Pawlenty and his family did, it is hard to let go.  But  it was the fact that Pawlenty did give his all and knew it which allowed him to come to a conclusion earlier  than most candidates do.  Pawlenty’s decision was a sign of man who his a realist and unafraid to deny reality.  Ultimately the former Governor may have garnered some delegates here or there but it was apparent to him that the cost and effort that he would have needed to invest in order to lose with as few as 10 or 20 delegates, was not rational.

This conclusion was probably also due in part to the sixth place showing of Texas Governor Rick Perry in the straw poll. 

Perry who was not even an official candidate at the time that voting began, and has not campaigned a day anywhere, pulled 718 write in votes.  That was only an additional sign that another well-financed and popular candidate in the race was only going to make the mountain Pawlenty was climbing even more difficult.

Pawlenty was a very credible candidate.  In another time he probably would have been considered a frontrunner.  But in this day and of age of polarized politics, the ideological divide is becoming so wide that the most motivated of voters who are seeking change, just did not find Tim Pawlenty extreme enough or as forceful enough as the times require.  He was a victim of populist anger.  No matter what though, it can’t be said that Pawlenty didn’t run a first class campaign.  And it also can’t be said that he didn’t give us the opportunity to take advantage of his leadership.  The same can not be said for others like Mitch Daniels or Haley Barbour who were not willing to make the sacrifices that Tim Pawlenty was willing make and already did make.

As for the remaining field, the effect of Pawlenty’s withdrawal will probably benefit Mitt Romney the most, while making to little to no difference to Bachmann, who like Pawlenty is from  Minnesota.

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View Tim Pawlenty’s Iowa Straw Poll Speech in its Entirety

Bookmark and Share    Of all the speeches given before the votes were counted at the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Tim Palwenty delivered a speech which I can’t find any fault with.  If a speech could be perfect, this one would have been close to it.  In fact there was nothing wrong with.  I found no disagreement with his positions and opinions and found nothing wrong with his excellent message.  I guess the only problem is the messenger.  And I hate to say that, for Tim Pawlenty is a seemingly great guy.  The kind of guy who wouldn’t hurt a fly, but will do a good job at making sure that no flies got into his tent.
 
But for some reason, even though Pawlenty says the right things, they just don’t resonate as well as they should with him.
 
See the speech for yourself.  I bet you won’t find anything wrong with it, but it still won’t hit you in any significant way.  Maybe his speech was to rehearsed, to the point where it was over-reheased?  Maybe it was too perfect?  I don’t know what it is  but whatever it is, it’s not working for Pawlenty as well as it shoud.

Debate Recap

The commentators in the Iowa debate finally succeeded in getting the Republican candidates to go after one another, and the result was a distinction between the boys, the girl, and the men.  Here is my assessment:

Newt Gingrich

I would name Newt as the winner of this debate.  He presented something the other candidates could not, a clear record on the economy and government with the exact results Americans want today that was left mostly unassailed.  Newt vented his frustration early at Chris Wallace over what came across as unfair questions, but was able to then produce reasonable responses.  Gingrich had a better grasp of history and economics and managed not to contradict himself.  I doubt it will be enough to kickstart his campaign again, but he looked and sounded most like the candidate who could turn our economy around.  Newt said what every American was thinking, the supercommittee part of the debt deal is a stupid idea and Obama should call Congress back to fix it.

Mitt Romney

Romney proved once again how effortless this race has been for him.  When Pawlenty shot across his bow with a jab at how much property he owns, Romney shrugged it off like Michael Jordan would if he wasn’t picked first in a neighborhood game of pickup basketball.  Romney looked and sounded like a professional and did not allow Wallace, Pawlenty or anyone else to shake his demeanor.  In fact, he made almost everyone else look like amateurs, especially Pawlenty and Bachmann.  Romney positioned himself as the successful businessman, accomplished politician, and leader.  In fact, when Cain touted his independent business success, when Pawlenty talked about balancing his budget and cutting spending and taxes, and when Pawlenty and Huntsman talked about leadership, Romney kept coming to mind.  He ignored interparty skirmishes and focused on Obama, which is a key in this race.  His only slip up was trying to discuss the semantics of state versus federal constitutional restrictions.  I think his point was a good one, especially when he asked Wallace what he knew about Massachusetts constitution, but ultimately the point was lost on the other participants.

Ron Paul

Republicans still don’t like Ron Paul, and he is still abrasive.  However, he came in third in this debate because he toned down the abrasiveness and instead mixed in some well earned “told ya so”.  Paul made key points on the Fed, the debt, the debt ceiling deal, the precariousness of our currency, and the costs of war.  These were timely points and made well.  He did not leap into easy traps on military spending that he has fallen into before that come across as disrespect for men and women in uniform.  Paul was also able to better articulate his views on social issues.  In the past he has come across as more liberal than libertarian.  This time he was able to articulate what be actually believes about gay marriage and abortion, stating that our liberties come from our creator, not government.  He may not win over the mainstream religious right, but will win over some more religious libertarians and constitutionalists.

Rick Santorum

Yes, believe it or not, Rick Santorum is fourth on my list.  His performance will most likely not change anything, but as a second tier candidate he exceeded expectations.  He was well prepared, made logical answers to the questions asked, and avoided harmful entanglements with other candidates.  He continues to represent George Bush neo-conservatism and will continue to bring useful balance to the debate.  He still has no chance of winning.

Herman Cain

Cain came across as the most unknowledgeable of the candidates.  He presents a good story of a businessman outsider seeking to change Washington’s business side.  However, Cain does not present a well rounded candidate that voters would trust on issues of foreign policy or domestic social issues.  Until he can get past soundbites to real plans and strategies he will not garner the needed support.   He was the only candidate to drive home the growth aspect of turning our economy around in a real and tangible way.

Jon Huntsman

Who?  His late entry, semi-liberal credentials, and lack of energetic or unique performance make Huntsman an afterthought.  He was like an off-brand candidate.  Aside from cyberwar with China, nothing he said really stood out.  If Huntsman was not at the next debate, I doubt most viewers would even realize it.  For example, remember that candidate from New Mexico, the Ron Paul wannabe?  What was his name again?

Tim Pawlenty

Chris Wallace was able to get under the candidates skin and even inspire direct confrontations between candidates.  Mostly though, the culprit ended up being Tim Pawlenty.  In a role usually occupied by the perennial anti-GOP establishment candidate Ron Paul, Pawlenty went after Bachmann, Romney, and whoever else got in his way.  He came across as a third place candidate trying to remind people why he is in this race, or at least that he is in this race.  I did not enjoy listening to him.  When he wasn’t on the attack, he was apologizing for cigarette taxes or highlighting things he did as governor that both Romney and Huntsman have on their resume.  In a race where the focus needs to be on Barack Obama, Pawlenty allowed himself to fall into the hands of the commentators and make for some great controversial TV.  Personally, I think this primary would come to a much better result without Pawlenty.

Michelle Bachmann

The loser of last night’s debate was Michelle Bachmann.  When Pawlenty attacked her, she fought back and lost.  Pawlenty managed to paint her as more of an ideologue than a successful conservative champion.  Pawlenty highlighted her lack of results, and she let that stick.  I believe she did receive some of the more unfair questions, including the one about submitting to her husband, but instead of recognizing those questions for what they were, she showed why she is not the caliber of Newt or Mitt and engaged the questions as though they were credible concerns.

Honestly though, what earned Bachmann the F was when she failed to return to her podium on time after the commercial break.  She is trying to overcome this idea that she is an unprofessional activist, not a serious contender.  However, her tardiness, fumbling over major points such as combining pro-life and taxes in bills, and engaging Pawlenty in unscripted arguments show why Bachmann’s runner up status has been purely on the substance of her popular TEA party beliefs, not because she is a polished candidate.  Conservatives may like her in the polls, but when they go to vote I think we will see them be more likely to send a quarterback than the mascot in to play.

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