T-Paw and the Tea Partiers
Pawlenty woos an apathetic crowd.


Katrina Trinko

During the rally, a dedicated band of Pawlenty supporters emerged. Passing out Pawlenty 2012 stickers and talking about him to attendees, the volunteers proved that former Minnesota governor can inspire dedication. Jessie Nicholson, pushing one child in a stroller and keeping an eye on her slightly older son, told me that she had been impressed by Pawlenty’s budgeting decisions in Minnesota and willingness to make hard decisions when confronted with a budget deficit.

“I think that Governor Pawlenty is someone that people sort of in the middle and then also in all parts of the Republican party can get behind and support,” Nicholson, a Pawlenty volunteer, said. “He’s kind of a common man, really likeable person, and really good at communicating those kinds of nuts-and-bolts issues.”

“I hope that he does well,” she added. “I’m excited about what he could do for America.”

Excited is not a word often heard in conjunction with Pawlenty’s name. But for an electorate that has soured on President Obama’s celebrity status, excitement may not be nearly as important a factor as executive experience.

“He’s got two terms as a governor so far,” approvingly mused John, an attendee at the rally. “He sounds like a guy who’s pretty level-headed. I’d like to hear some more from him before I make up my mind.”

— Katrina Trinko is an NRO staff reporter.