Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Do We Await Portman-ia? The Ryan Commotion? The Palwenty Frenzy?


Veepstakes mania leads off the Tuesday Morning Jolt

Will Romney Pick His Veep Now? … How About Now? … How About… Now?

With Romney back from his overseas trip, and the Olympics ending this weekend, the veepstakes talk is kicking into higher gear.

 I don’t know if Bill Kristol has any inside scoop… but he certainly has perfected the art of sounding like he does:

On Monday, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol appeared on Fox News Channel where he discussed an editorial published over the weekend in which he recommends Mitt Romney “go for gold” and select either Rep.Paul Ryan (R-WI) or Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) to be the vice presidential nominee. Kristol said that he expects the vice presidential pick to be announced on Thursday in preparation for a bus tour which will take the 2012 GOP ticket to a number of battleground states.

“If you look at Governor Romney’s schedule, he’s got events in Illinois Tuesday, Iowa Wednesday, a fundraising breakfast Thursday morning in New York – his calendar then is clear, so far as I can tell, Thursday afternoon and Friday,” said Kristol. “Then he begins a barnstorming tour Saturday in Virginia, North Carolina Sunday, Florida Monday, Ohio Tuesday.”

“It’d be pretty weird, I think, to do this four-day tour through four swing states – big bus tour, a lot of excitement – without having picked a V.P. and with that, sort of, hanging over him and dwarfing whatever message he wants to get out,” Kristol continued.

“I now believe the pick would be made Thursday afternoon or Friday,” said Kristol, saying that he believes Thursday is the more likely of the two days to reveal a running mate. “Let the guy go on the morning shows Friday morning. Dominate the news over the weekend – very exciting bus tour – with Romney accompanied by either Christie, Ryan or Rubio.”

Micah Sifry offers a leading indicator:

The Romney campaign wants you to download its mobile app to be among the first to find out who Mitt is going to pick as his running mate, but if past history is any guide, you might want to instead be looking at Wikipedia — and whether any of the leading contenders’ entries are being suddenly brushed up.

Sarah Palin’s Wikipedia page was updated at least 68 times the day before John McCain announced her selection, with another 54 changes made in the five previous days previous. Tim Pawlenty, another leading contender for McCain’s favor, had 54 edits on August 28th, with just 12 in the five previous days. By contrast, the other likely picks — Romney, Kay Bailey Hutchison — saw far fewer changes. The same burst of last-minute editing appeared on Joe Biden’s Wikipedia page, Terry Gudaitis of Cyveillance, told the Washington Post.

None of Wikipedia entries for the current candidates being bandied about by Romney-watchers — Rob Portman, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, Kelly Ayotte or Pawlenty — are currently showing anything like the spike in edits that Cyveillance spotted on Palin and Biden’s pages back in 2008. But most of those came in the 24 hours prior to the official announcement. That said, if Wikipedia changes offer any hint of what’s coming, then today might be a good day to bet on Ryan.

My suggestion? Keep your eyes on Romney’s campaign plane at night.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , Marco Rubio , Paul Ryan , Rob Portman , Tim Pawlenty

Has Romney Decided? Watch the Campaign Plane.


Matt Drudge is a master of finding the intriguing comment buried in an article and . . . extrapolating big things.

The New York Times, in a profile of former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, wrote: “His fate is in the hands of Mr. Romney, a rival-turned-friend, who is on the cusp of announcing his vice-presidential selection. Mr. Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week.”

What makes these Romney friends believe he has made a decision? No word.

The Drudge headline: “HE’S MADE HIS DECISION!”

. . . Well, maybe. Or maybe the unidentified Romney friends are drawing the wrong conclusions from whatever they see/hear/sense in their friend.

It does seem plausible that Romney would be close to a decision.

RealClearPolitics concluded a few weeks ago that the officeholders getting the most work as campaign surrogates included Pawlenty, Ohio senator Rob Portman, Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan, and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal. (In the weeks that followed, New Hampshire’s Sen. Kelly Ayotte seems to be getting more work as a Romney surrogate.) There were reports that Florida senator Marco Rubio was not being vetted, and then Romney said in an interview that he was indeed being vetted. The big news this morning is that South Dakota senator John Thune said he has “been to Boston to meet Romney’s senior advisers and has met Beth Myers, who is leading the search for the vice presidential nominee.”

So, barring some surprise, completely under-the-radar choice, the list is (in alphabetical order) Ayotte, Jindal, Pawlenty, Portman, Ryan, Rubio and Thune. (A top Romney source already told Bob Costa it’s “not Condi” Rice.)

The Olympics’ opening ceremony is July 27, and London-related headlines are likely to dominate the following weeks. Mid-August is traditionally America’s vacation time. And then there’s the August 27 deadline. So there’s a short window to announce in the coming two weeks, or sometime after the Olympics end August 12.

My suggestion? Keep your eyes on Romney’s campaign plane at night.

Tags: Bobby Jindal , John Thune , Marco Rubio , Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan , Rob Portman , Tim Pawlenty

Why Would Romney’s Veep Pick Come Soon?


In the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt, a look at a surprising rebuke to President Obama from a news anchor, a poll of the most memorable moments in television history, and then this bit of political buzz . . .

And the Next Vice President of the United States Will Be . . .

The long-awaited name of the running mate leaked yesterday: Cheri Honkala.

Wait, that’s the running mate for Green Party nominee Jill Stein. What party did you think I was talking about?

Reuters generated quite a bit of buzz with this little nugget:

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney acknowledged on Tuesday he is considering naming his choice to serve as vice presidential running mate earlier than usual to better compete with President Barack Obama.

As they work from a short list of leading Republicans, Romney and his advisers say they are weighing whether he should announce his choice some weeks earlier than the traditional time of around the Republican National Convention, which is to be held in Tampa in late August.

The reasoning, advisers say, is that two candidates would be able to raise more money and engage Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in battle with polls showing Americans closely divided on whether to pick the Republican challenger or Democratic incumbent in the November 6 election.

Jonathan Tobin urges us to not jump to that conclusion: “Those who believe Romney is going to make a decision based on the ephemeral political advantages to be gained are forgetting that the Republican is the ultimate numbers-cruncher and specialized in mining the data exhaustively to make the right choice in business. He is probably conducting the veep search in the same manner he has made every other important business and political decision in his life, which makes the notion of moving up the pick merely in order to give him a couple of positive news cycles laughable. This is a man who is obsessed with long rather than short-term gains. That is why it is likely that whoever he chooses will be someone he thinks can help him govern rather than someone who is, no matter how impressive, unlikely to be the difference in the fall election.”

And during our discussion on MSNBC — yes, I shared a set with Obama’s former deputy press secretary Bill Burton! — Chuck Todd pointed out that right now, guys like Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, and Ohio Sen. Rob Portman are already all out there, being effective surrogates and fundraisers for the Romney campaign. Each one of those guys gets an extra bit of attention and buzz because they’re possible running mates. What’s the rush to move from five high-attention, loud-buzz surrogates to one big one and four lesser ones?

Tags: Bobby Jindal , Marco Rubio , Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan , Rob Portman , Tim Pawlenty

Jindal and Pawlenty, Bracketing Obama in Ohio and Pennsylvania


Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota — two oft-mentioned potential running mates for Mitt Romney — are on a bus tour for the Romney campaign through Ohio and Pennsylvania, “bracketing” events by President Obama. The pair held a conference call moments ago.


If you listen to his rhetoric and policies, you see a president who is engaged in class warfare, divide and blame rhetoric, because he simply can’t run on his record. He simply can’t ask Americans, “are you better off now than you were four years ago?” We’re moving more towards the ways of Europe, more towards the culture of dependency. There used to be a stigma in terms of relying on government programs. Under this president, they seem to celebrate the growth in the rolls of food stamps, the growth in the number of goverment health care, This is a very important election to get America back on track — to contrast that sense of entitlement, that sense of class warfare, with what Mitt Romney is running on. He’s running on policies and a track record of creating jobs in the private sector, not the public sector. He is reminding the American people that what makes America great is unlimited opportunity. You’re not entitled to equal results, you are entitled to equal opportunity in this great country.

I asked Pawlenty what he thought of recent criticism from the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and William Kristol, contending that Governor Romney is missing opportunities in his campaign, content to point to the economic troubles and not making a forceful case for his own vision and policies. Pawlenty responded:

Governor Romney has put out the most detailed set of proposals on the economy and other issues that I think that any candidate at this stage of a presidential campaign in the modern history of the country — including a very detailed policy prescription on the economy. It features things like reductions in corporate tax rates, 20 percent across-the-board income tax cuts for individuals and obviously small businesses, exemptions and elimination of capital gains and interest taxation for middle-income folks, complete overhaul of America’s energy policy, complete overhaul of our health care policy back towards markets instead of back towards government, lightening up on regulations in ways that would stimulate economic growth, and much more. The content is all there, and he’s out there every day advancing that. The content is all there, and he’s out there advancing that in a way that I think has been positive so far.

Obviously, there’s a lot of work in front of us. In terms of the critics, I respect the individuals that you mentioned, but in polls, the marketplace response to Governor Romney has been very good. He’s running against an incumbent president, and depending on the week and the particular poll, he’s at worst tied and maybe even a little ahead by some polls. That doesn’t account for the people who are undecided, and with the down economy, those people may end up breaking against the incumbent. They know they incumbent, and they’re looking for a better alternative.

The state of the race, the state of the campaign Governor Romney is well-positioned to win this race.

Tags: Barack Obama , Bobby Jindal , Mitt Romney , Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty’s Weakness in Iowa Was Not Unfamiliarity


Over in the Corner, Jonah continues to wonder if Pawlenty could have caught on by simply hanging around and waiting for his general, boring acceptability to catch on amidst a weak GOP field.

Far be it from me to scoff at the proposed George Costanza “By Mennen” strategy, but there’s very little evidence that Iowans or any other significant primary demographic would have warmed up to Pawlenty with more time and exposure. Jonah asks, “Had a majority of the GOP, or even the Iowa GOP, really paid that much attention as of mid-August 2011*?”

For starters, it is not as if coverage of his two terms as governor of Minnesota couldn’t cross a hermetically sealed state border. Pawlenty visited Iowa as early as 2009 and made 50 stops in the state by July of this year. In June, he became the first candidate to run television ads in Iowa, running a 30-second ad in six media markets.

Then in the final push to the Ames Straw Poll, Pawlenty made 29 stops in 26 cities across Iowa. He appeared in three debates, and the final one, held in Iowa, had 5.2 million viewers nationwide. In April 2011, Pawlenty garnered 1 percent in a survey of Iowa Republicans and 2 percent in July 2011. It couldn’t be that Iowa Republicans had merely tuned out the race, because an equally fresh face, Michele Bachmann, had surged to 21 percent by July. By July, only 4 percent of likely Iowa caucusgoers said they had never heard of Pawlenty; 47 percent said they had a favorable opinion of him, 19 percent said unfavorable and 30 percent said they had no opinion. But in the same survey, only 8 percent backed him and only 13 percent said he was their second choice.

Nationally, Pawlenty hit all the traditional stops for a candidate: all the Sunday shows, The Daily Show, op-eds in the Wall Street Journal, speaking at CPAC. He appeared on the cover of NR. He released 191 web videos and they generated considerable buzz.

Perhaps most significantly, it’s hard to argue that Pawlenty somehow never got a chance to appeal to the Republican donor base. For perspective, in July 2011, he had raised less than Bill Richardson had in his presidential bid in July 2007. It was no state secret that Pawlenty would need every penny he could get to beat Romney, and donors kept their wallets largely closed to him.

What’s more, the 16,862 Iowans who appeared in Ames for the straw poll certainly paid attention by mid-August. Pawlenty won the votes of 2,293 of them, or 13.6 percent.

“Had a majority of the GOP, or even the Iowa GOP, really paid that much attention as of mid-August 2011?” Yes.

* Jonah wrote “2010″ but I know he meant 2011.

Tags: Iowa , Tim Pawlenty

Will There Ever Be a Consensus ‘Not-Mitt’ Candidate?


From the midweek Morning Jolt . . .

The Only Thing That Stopped the Pawlenty Momentum Was Tim Pawlenty

Poor Tim Pawlenty. Pawlenty-mania kicks in, roughly two months after he leaves the race.

First, from Jonah: “Looking back on the events of 2011, who do you think has more regrets for his bad decisions, Hosni Mubarak or former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty? . . . All Pawlenty did was blow his entirely plausible shot at the presidency. Let’s hop into the way-back machine. Pawlenty’s plan was to be the alternative to Mitt Romney. He launched a huge political operation, perhaps to scare off other candidates, which required an equally huge fundraising effort to sustain it. In order to justify the money he was asking of donors, he had to do well in the Iowa straw poll in August. He came in third to Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul. Pawlenty quit the race the next day. Tactically, Pawlenty’s mistakes are too numerous to count. But strategically, Pawlenty had the right idea: Be the most electable candidate to the right of Romney.”

. . . I don’t think we can argue that he really didn’t get a chance to shine, or enough time in the debates, or that somehow Republicans didn’t take a good enough look at him.

We scoff at Romney’s ironclad twenty-something percent in primary polls, but you notice that to the remaining seventy to eighty percent, there is no real consensus on who the alternative to Romney ought to be. Even when you go down the list of alternatives who didn’t run — Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie — the anti-Mitt crowd splits.

I realize blogging means you get a skewed perspective of the political world from your feedback. The folks who write in aren’t representative of the public as a whole or Republicans as a whole or even necessarily of NRO readers as a whole. They’re the ones who feel most motivated to write in and tell me how much I stink helpfully suggest flaws in my thinking. So I preface this observation with the recognition that perhaps I end up with an incomplete view of the thinking of the majority of Republican primary voters. But right now, the Anybody But Mitt crowd to me looks like a mix of Perry fans who can’t believe any conservative could seriously support those jokers Cain and Bachmann, Cain fans who can’t believe anybody could back that loser Perry and that loon Bachmann, Bachmann fans who can’t believe everybody’s jumped off the bandwagon of the one true conservative fighter, Newt fans who can’t believe everybody makes such a big deal of his marital difficulties, and so on. I’m not sure anybody has much of a second choice right now, much less a potential consensus choice. I exaggerate slightly, but right now, it doesn’t seem like many primary voters see many of the options as “pretty good.” The field is simply “their guy” versus a bunch of laughingstocks who deserve to be booed off the stage.

My theory is that in the On Demand Era, with movies and television shows available on demand, news sites updated 24-7, our iPods and MP3 players playing only the music we want, our Facebook pages giving us just the updates from the particular friends we want, etc., a certain segment of the public has now become conditioned to expect the On Demand candidate. They want someone who holds their position on Obamacare AND illegal immigration AND climate change AND TARP AND abortion AND every other significant issue, and when a potential Republican president deviates from it, they toss them into the “reject” pile.

Tags: Herman Cain , Michele Bachmann , Mitt Romney , Rick Perry , Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty Endorses Mitt Romney


A bit of a shocker over in the Corner: former presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty endorses Mitt Romney.

Take a guess on which issue does not get mentioned in Pawlenty’s endorsement. Hint: It rhymes with “Obamneycare.”

As hard as Pawlenty tried to be the anti-Romney of the race, in the end the polls and the Ames Straw Poll results suggested he was actually occupying the same space as Romney, just without the donors, name ID and poll numbers. 

Tags: Barack Obama , Mitt Romney , Tim Pawlenty

Who’s Competing Hard, and Who’s Not, in Ames


In the unlikely chance you’re around Ames, Iowa, today, the Ames Tribune lists the candidate schedules:

9:30 a.m., Thaddeus McCotter, meet-and-greet at the Iowa Botanical Center, 909 Robert D. Ray Drive, Des Moines.

10 a.m., Herman Cain, “Common Sense Solutions” bus tour stop at the Iowa State Fair, 3000 Grand Ave., Des Moines

.10:30 a.m., Herman Cain, Des Moines Register soapbox at the Iowa State Fair, East University Avenue, Des Moines.

11 a.m., Tim Pawlenty, guest pork chef at Iowa Pork Producers Association Booth, Iowa State Fair.

11 a.m., Thaddeus McCotter, Des Moines Register soapbox, Iowa State Fair.

11 a.m., Rick Santorum, Des Moines Register soapbox, Iowa State Fair.

11:30 a.m., Michele Bachmann, town hall meeting, Sports Page Grill, 1802 West Second Ave., Indianola.

Noon, Ron Paul, Des Moines Register soapbox, Iowa State Fair.

12:30 p.m., Herman Cain, “Common Sense Solutions” bus tour stop, Town Square, South Clinton Avenue, Albia.

12:30 p.m., Tim Pawlenty, Des Moines Register soapbox, Iowa State Fair.

2 p.m., Michele Bachmann, “Join me in Ames Tomorrow!” rally, Tulip Town Square, 507 Franklin St., Pella.

2 p.m., Ron Paul, speech, National Foundation for Women Legislators, Des Moines Marriot Downtown, 700 Grand Ave., Des Moines.

2:30 p.m., Tim Pawlenty, Republican Party of Iowa booth, Iowa State Fair.

3 p.m., Herman Cain, “Common Sense Solutions” bus tour stop, 101 South Main St., Sigourney.

3:30 p.m., Ron Paul, meet and greet, Republican Party of Iowa booth, Iowa State Fair.

4 p.m., Michele Bachmann, Des Moines Register soapbox, Iowa State Fair.

4:30 p.m., Michele Bachmann, welcome home reception, Iowa Living History Farms, Urbandale.

5:30 p.m., Tim Pawlenty, College Students for Pawlenty pizza party, Iowa State University, Ames.

7 p.m., Michele Bachmann, Dallas County fundraising dinner, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 150 S. Jordan Creek Parkway, West Des Moines.

8:30 p.m., Michele Bachmann, Straw Poll tailgate party, Ames.

Notice that for all extents and purposes, the only candidates who are really competing in Ames are Bachmann, Pawlenty, Paul, Cain, McCotter and Santorum. If any of them finish behind the non-competitors – Romney, Huntsman, Gingirch, and let’s throw in Perry and Palin – they’ll really have to evaluate whether they should remain in the race. I might make an exception for McCotter since he wasn’t allowed into last night’s Fox News debate, an omission that I felt was undeserved.

Tags: Herman Cain , Michele Bachmann , Rick Santorum , Ron Paul , Thad McCotter , Tim Pawlenty

Something For Everyone to Love and Hate Last Night


A whole smorgasbord of debate reactions in today’s Morning Jolt, the last for a week:

Chuck Todd said the “cheap cliché” will be that “Rick Perry won the debate.” Stephen Hayes retorted, “Sometimes clichés are true.”

Michele Bachmann:

Emily Zanotti: “Tim Pawlenty believes that God has blessed America. Unless you’re Michele Bachmann. Then, He’s totally not into you.”

Mitt Romney:

Andrea Tarantos: “No clear winner tonight but Romney wins in the sense he escapes unscathed, which is goal as frontrunner. Until Sat, that is.”

Political Math: “Romney has retired to his cigar room to stroke his cat and growl, ‘Excellent. As I have planned.’”

Mark Ambinder: “Good night for Gingrich, Romney, Paul and Santorum. Don’t think Ames calculus changes. Pawlenty and Bachmann fought to a draw.”

J. P. Freire: “Mitt says he believes in people who believe in freedom, though I assume he doesn’t mean freedom from the individual mandate.”

Tim Pawlenty:

Pawlenty had this wonderful joke that began with him saying that if anyone could show a serious reform plan for Social Security, or Medicare, or Medicaid from Barack Obama, he would cook them dinner. (laughter) “Or mow their lawn.” (more laughter) “But if Mitt can find it, I have to limit it to one acre.”


Aw, governor.

David Freddoso: “Pawlenty had the debate performance he needed….in the last debate. Probably not enough now.”

Jonah: “If you hit mute, Tim Pawlenty looks like he’s explaining to a 3rd grader why he has to spend a week in detention.”

Melissa Clouthier: “Pawlenty is over…  I really thought Bachmann and Pawlenty hurt each other.”

Ron Paul:

One of the more interesting topics was Iran, its nuclear program, intelligence-gathering and a dangerous world. Ron Paul played a central role.

Moe Lane: “Did Tim Pawlenty just advocate Mossad’s assassination campaign of Iranian nuclear scientists? I mean, YES, of course, but damn.”

Rick Klein of ABC News: “Ron Paul is ready to “tolerate” Iran getting a nuclear weapon. This is why, if he wins the straw poll, the GOP has a little problem.”

NRO’s Dan Foster summarizes Ron Paul’s view, “nuclear theocracy is okay because the CIA was overenthusiastic in 1953.”

There is increasing consensus that Paul is likely to win Saturday’s straw poll.

Rick Santorum:

Alex Burns of Politico: “Santorum: ‘Iran is not Iceland.’ Politifact ruling: mostly true.”

Jon Huntsman:

Greg Gutfeld pays tribute to Jon Huntsman’s younger days in music: “Huntsman is running on his record. Which is, his record.”

Jonah: “Huntsman looks like he’s waging an epic battle with acid reflux.”

Bethany Shondark: “I like the hope vs. solutions line from Huntsman. First thing about these closing statements that I didn’t hate.”

Tags: Debates , Jon Huntsman , Mitt Romney , Ron Paul , Tim Pawlenty

Obama Keeps Making Raw Material for Pawlenty Ads


Tim Pawlenty gives the recent stock market tumbles and troubles of President Obama the Bruckheimer movie trailer treatment:

I watch that and think it’s the second-best trailer of the summer, next to The Avengers. I can’t wait to see Pawlenty: The Movie.

Tags: Barack Obama , Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty Campaign: Everyone Remembers We’re the Underdog, Right?


Department of Expectations Management: Tim Pawlenty’s campaign sends along this article in the St. Petersburg Times, making sure everyone sees the phrase “Underdog Tim Pawlenty” in the headline:

The vast majority of Floridians couldn’t pick Tim Pawlenty out of a lineup. He barely registers in the polls. And there’s a decent chance he’ll have to quit the presidential race soon if he continues to show little momentum in Iowa.

And yet something curious is happening in Florida: Influential Republican leaders continue to line up behind the former Minnesota governor, even with little evidence he’s a viable contender.

“I don’t know or care if he’s got a 5 percent chance or a 50 percent chance or an 80 percent chance, what matters right now is we need people who stand up for what they believe in,’’ said state Rep. Richard Corcoran of New Port Richey, a Pawlenty supporter in line to be speaker of the Florida House.

There’s no need to fear!

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Two Minnesota Republicans Enter Iowa, One Republican Leaves


The first Morning Jolt of the week begins with a look at MSNBC’s recent programming decisions, the mainstream media/ suddenly recognizing that Obama is willing to practice the dreaded “politics of fear,” and Iowa suddenly turning into the Thunderdome for aspiring GOP presidents from Minnesota:

Bachmann: Oh, By the Way, My Governor These Past Years Was a Lot like Obama

The Ames Straw Poll and the Iowa Caucuses now have their storylines: Two Minnesotans enter, one Minnesotan leaves.

Bachmann for President Press Secretary Alice Stewart issued the following statement in response to comments by the Pawlenty campaign that there is very little difference between Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann and former Governor Tim Pawlenty:

“Governor Pawlenty would have us believe that there is ‘very little difference’ between his positions and those of Michele Bachmann.

“But in fact, there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty’s past positions and Barack Obama’s positions on several critical issues facing Americans. On issues such as unconstitutional healthcare mandates, climate change regulations, and Wall Street bailouts, there’s very little daylight, indeed, between Governor Pawlenty’s record and the Obama administration’s policies.

“And of course, President Obama would surely applaud Governor Pawlenty’s 2006 statement that the ‘era of small government is over,’ and that the government will have to be ‘more proactive and more aggressive.’

“Governor Pawlenty has changed his positions in recent years, but he can’t run from his big government record as governor of Minnesota that left the state’s budget in a multi-billion dollar mess. That’s not executive experience we need.”

On the one hand, these sorts of sharper divisions and tougher attacks were inevitable in the GOP presidential primary. On the other hand, there’s something artificial and contrived when two candidates who have shared the same stage and made vaguely positive remarks about each other in recent history suddenly turn it up to eleven and contend the other is obviously unacceptable as the party’s nominee.  Pawlenty’s been running for president since March (with the formation of his exploratory committee) and we’re to believe that Bachmann just realized “there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty’s past positions and Barack Obama’s positions”?

Tags: Michele Bachmann , Tim Pawlenty

Do You Believe in Fair-Use Miracles? Yes!


From the last Morning Jolt of the week:

Do You Believe in Copyright Infringement?

Among sportscasters, there is a joke that if you listen carefully to Al Michaels’s famous call in the 1980 Olympic Hockey Championship, “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?,” you can hear Marv Albert responding, “YES!”

Anyway, we can’t begrudge hockey fan Tim Pawlenty for trying to invoke some of that plucky underdog spirit, but apparently he might have a bit of legal trouble over his newest ad:

ABC Sports may slap presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty with a cease-and-desist letter for improperly using its footage in a political advertisement, a company official told The Des Moines Register today.

“It’s a violation of our copyright and exclusive proprietary rights,” said Louise Argianas, director of rights and clearances for ABC Sports.

The struggling Pawlenty campaign launched “The American Comeback,” a television commercial with a down-but-not-out theme, in Iowa on Wednesday.

The 30-second spot uses TV footage from the so-called “Miracle on Ice,” the hockey game in which the U.S. team beat the supposedly invincible Soviet Union in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Argianas said in a telephone interview that ABC Sports retains exclusive U.S. rights to that footage. She said she was upset when she saw Pawlenty’s ad for the first time this afternoon.

“And they used our announcer’s voice, which they are not allowed to do, either,” she said, referring to play-by-play announcer Al Michaels. “Which I’m going to have to call his agent about.”

Argianas initially said she intended to have a lawyer send the cease-and-desist letter Friday. But tonight, officials at ESPN, which oversees ABC Sports, walked back that statement saying that, after a larger conversation, they’re undecided about whether to send such a letter.

ESPN spokesman Chris LaPlaca said: “Neither ABC nor ESPN has asked the Pawlenty campaign to remove any footage from their video, although neither ABC nor ESPN licensed the video to them or authorized its use.”

Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant defended the use of the footage, part of a much-revered piece of sports history.

“The campaign’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ advertisement was carefully reviewed for legal compliance, and we believe fully complies with the ‘fair use’ doctrine,” Conant said. “We respect ABC’s concern and look forward to responding to their inquiry.”

ABC Sports added that Pawlenty was free to use as much Howard Cosell footage as he liked. (I’m kidding.)

Of course, the controversy means the ad might get even more attention, being played in newscasts, etc.

Jazz Shaw wonders whether this is really the metaphor Pawlenty wants to use, anyway: “Curious is certainly a word I’d use as well. While the ad is very slick and professional with some solid themes, the entire idea of the “Miracle on Ice” always summons up images of a victory by somebody who isn’t really being given any sort of shot at winning. I generally expect to see a bit more projected confidence (genuine or not) from candidates who feel they are in serious contention. There’s still a long road ahead before the first primary votes are cast, but T-Paw seems to have already begun portraying his own campaign as The Mighty Ducks in this race. Then again, unless he can make a very strong showing in the Ames straw poll, perhaps he’s just being a realist.”

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty Picks Up DeEndorsement of DeWine


For those of you who have been waiting, on the edge of your seats, to see who former senator Mike DeWine of Ohio would endorse for president in 2012, wait no longer.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced his endorsement of  Gov. Tim Pawlenty for president. 

“Gov. Pawlenty is the right man to serve as president,” DeWine said today. “As a two term governor, Pawlenty understands what it takes to be a leader, knows the importance of supporting state and local governments, and has shown time after time a dedication to protecting children and families.” 

Mike DeWine was elected Ohio’s 50th Attorney General in 2010.  In his oath of office, DeWine swore to protect Ohio families and as Attorney General has focused on fixing the delays at the state crime lab, ending the plague of prescription drug abuse that is destroying families across Ohio, and creating a job friendly environment through educating business on consumer protection issues.

 “Throughout Gov. Pawlenty’s career, he has a record of fighting for the conservatives ideals that he believes in without alienating those who disagree,” said DeWine. “In a political environment where it is increasingly hard to get things accomplished, Gov. Pawlenty brings the right balance of experience, knowhow, and dedication to move America forward.” DeWine went on to say, “As Attorney General, I’m fighting to repeal Obama health care.  Gov. Pawlenty understands how to reform health care without unconstitutional mandates.” 

Throughout his career, DeWine has been staunchly pro-life.  “I especially respect Gov.Pawlenty’s commitment to preserving and protecting the sanctity of life,” said DeWine.  “He is a champion for the most vulnerable among us.”

If I were running for president, I would want to tout every endorsement I received. But few, if any, are likely to make a big difference in most voters’ minds. Nonetheless, for a lesser-known candidate like Pawlenty, each endorsement like this probably helps a bit, emphasizing, “I’m acceptable to everyone from DeWine to Joe Wilson to former senator Norm Coleman . . .”

Tags: Mike DeWine , Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty Slams Obama’s ‘Engagement’ Approach to Iran, Syria


Tim Pawlenty gives a speech this morning at Council of Foreign Relations in New York City.

Very early this morning, Katrina Trinko posted some excerpts in the Corner. I think there are some other interesting bits, just released:

No one in this Administration predicted the events of the Arab spring – but the freedom deficit in the Arab world was no secret.  For 60 years, Western nations excused and accommodated the lack of freedom in the Middle East.  That could not last.  The days of comfortable private deals with dictators were coming to an end in the age of Twitter, You Tube, and Facebook.  And history teaches there is no such thing as stable oppression.  

President Obama has ignored that lesson of history.  Instead of promoting democracy – whose fruit we see now ripening across the region – he adopted a murky policy he called “engagement.”  

“Engagement” meant that in 2009, when the Iranian ayatollahs stole an election, and the people of that country rose up in protest, President Obama held his tongue.  His silence validated the mullahs, despite the blood on their hands and the nuclear centrifuges in their tunnels.  

While protesters were killed and tortured, Secretary Clinton said the Administration was “waiting to see the outcome of the internal Iranian processes.”  She and the president waited long enough to see the Green Movement crushed.

“Engagement” meant that in his first year in office, President Obama cut democracy funding for Egyptian civil society by 74 percent.  As one American democracy organization noted, this was “perceived by Egyptian democracy activists as signaling a lack of support.”  They perceived correctly.  It was a lack of support.  

“Engagement” meant that when crisis erupted in Cairo this year, as tens of thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square, Secretary Clinton declared, “the Egyptian Government is stable.”  Two weeks later, Mubarak was gone.  When Secretary Clinton visited Cairo after Mubarak’s fall, democratic activist groups refused to meet with her.  And who can blame them?

The forces we now need to succeed in Egypt — the pro-democracy, secular political parties — these are the very people President Obama cut off, and Secretary Clinton dismissed.  

The Obama “engagement” policy in Syria led the Administration to call Bashar al Assad a “reformer.”  Even as Assad’s regime was shooting hundreds of protesters dead in the street, President Obama announced his plan to give Assad “an alternative vision of himself.”  Does anyone outside a therapist’s office have any idea what that means?  This is what passes for moral clarity in the Obama Administration.  

By contrast, I called for Assad’s departure on March 29; I call for it again today.  We should recall our ambassador from Damascus; and I call for that again today.  The leader of the United States should never leave those willing to sacrifice their lives in the cause of freedom wondering where America stands.  As President, I will not.

We need a president who fully understands that America never “leads from behind.” 

To oh-so-slightly defend Hillary Clinton, she did not state directly that Assad was a reformer, but said, “Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer.” Of course, she didn’t follow up with, “I disagree,” or “this assessment is wrong” or “many members of Congress are probably as insane as Assad is.”

Nonetheless, the key foreign policy approach of candidate Obama was engagement and has generated no serious benefits to U.S. interests; meanwhile, the one indisputable, widely-hailed, perhaps presidency-defining achievement of President Obama was the distinctly Bush-ian unilateral, secret use of lethal military force to kill the world’s most wanted terrorist without trial and without informing the host country.

Tags: Barack Obama , Tim Pawlenty

Pawlenty Radio Ad: ‘Minnesota: Not Exactly a Conservative Place.’


Tim Pawlenty is taking to the radio airwaves in Iowa. From his campaign this morning:

Pawlenty for President has launched the first Iowa radio advertisement of its 2012 campaign.  ”Results Not Rhetoric” highlights Gov. Pawlenty’s record of conservative change in a liberal state.  During his two terms as governor, Pawlenty dramatically cut spending, implemented market-based rather than government-based health care reform and nominated conservative judges.


Announcer: Minnesota.

Not exactly a conservative place.

Then came Tim Pawlenty, widely recognized as the most conservative governor in Minnesota history.

Here’s Tim Pawlenty:

Pawlenty:When I ran for governor I said, look, we have to tell the truth, and the truth is, the liberal approach has failed our state.

Announcer: For decades, Minnesota spending had grown at twenty percent.  Tim Pawlenty shrank that down to one percent, and cut spending in real terms for the first time in history.

But that’s not all.

Pawlenty did heath care reform the right way.  No mandates. No takeovers.

And on nominating judges?

Pro-life Pawlenty turned a liberal supreme court into a conservative one.

Pawlenty: If I can do it in Minnesota, we can do it in Washington.

I’m Tim Pawlenty and I approved this message.

Announcer: Tim Pawlenty: Results, Not Rhetoric.

Paid for by Pawlenty for President.

Iowa conservatives are sure to enjoy a declaration that the liberal approach has failed, be it in Minnesota or anywhere, I wonder how many of Pawlenty’s rivals will scoff that being “the most conservative governor in Minnesota history” is a low bar to clear… the soft bigotry of low expectations?

Tags: Tim Pawlenty

Glitter-Hurling Code Pink, Now Just Protesting Any Old Issue


Out in San Francisco, a Code Pink protester — you know, the fuschia folks who strangely lost interest in protesting against military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, or even Libya, once Barack Obama became commander-in-chief — threw a pink “glitter bomb” at Tim Pawlenty. Actually, they just dumped pink confetti on his book-signing table.

During the Bush years, no administration official or Pentagon official could finish a sentence of testimony on Capitol Hill without some aged activist whose physique strangely suggested a great deal of inactivism leaping out of her chair and screaming some incoherent chant as a tired Capitol Police officer dragged them away, oh so slowly. Oftentimes the Pinkers would come in bunches, apparently believing that President Bush would have no choice but to suddenly order all U.S. troops out of the war zone because his cabinet couldn’t finish a paragraph of prepared testimony.

[Strangely, I don't recall Code Pink ever being compared to Tim McVeigh or called "un-American," even though rowdy crowds at town-hall meetings in the summer of 2009 were certainly no more disruptive to a lawmaker's public statements than Code Pink. Yet Code Pinkers have no problem associating with and in fact politely greeting sponsors of terrorism like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.]

Still, in matters of war and peace, passions run hot. Clearly, the Code Pinker deemed Pawlenty’s support of military action in Afghanistan or Libya under Obama’s leadership an egregious case of callous warmongering, right? She aimed and wielded her unlicensed, extended clip assault bag of high-caliber confetti at Pawlenty for his unwillingness to work to end military conflict, right?

The pink shower came with the chant, “Where is your courage to stand for gay rights and reproductive rights.”  And, “Welcome to San Francisco; home of gay hero Harvey Milk.”

The objection, it seems, is that Pawlenty has the audacity to disagree with the protester on the issue of abortion and gay rights. How dare he.

Code Pink has dropped any pretense of being an issue-based organization; they simply find any old issue or stance of a disliked public figure and let fly their Improvised Glitter Devices.

Tags: Code Pink , Tim Pawlenty

What’s Realistic? Pawlenty’s 5% Aspiration or Obama’s 4.1% Projection?


During the opening minutes of this week’s debate, a great deal of the early questioning surrounded Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s economic plan that contended that a large part of the nation’s debt and job creation problems could be alleviated if the country could create the conditions for rapid and sustained growth, about 5 percent GDP growth per year.

Among moderator John King’s questions:

Senator Santorum, you mentioned — you said you have executive experience, as well as your Senate experience. Governor Pawlenty laid out an economic plan. A lot of tax cuts in that plan. Some economists said he had some unrealistic expectations, and he said you could grow the economy 5 percent a year, then 5 percent a year, then 5 percent a year. Do you believe that is a possible? Or

…Governor Pawlenty, answer the critics — and as you do so — who say 5 percent every year is just unrealistic.

…Governor Romney, I want you to come in on that point. Is 5 percent overly optimistic?

The great James Pethokoukis examined whether the projection was realistic, concluding that the likelihood “really depends on the pace of innovation.” (This was written before President Obama identified the cause of our national economic doldrums as ATM machines.)

However, easily forgotten from Pawlenty’s critics on the left is that his allegedly unrealistic goal only a smidgen higher than the administration’s projections: “Looking ahead, the Administration projects moderate GDP growth of 3.1 percent in 2011, with growth then rising to an average rate of 4.1 percent during the next four years.” (And as we all know from the unemployment chart how reliable those Obama administration projections can be.)

Of course, one is an aspirational goal; five years of, say, 4.7 percent GDP growth would still feel like nirvana after the mess we’ve endured in the past few years, and would be comparable to the mid-1980s or late 1990s. I’d argue that a projection deserves more caution than an aspiration; if you botch the projection, you find yourself in much worse economic shape than you expected and may be unprepared for the related challenges.

It is hard to argue that Pawlenty’s 5 percent goal is unrealistic, but that the Obama administration’s projection of 4.1 percent is realistic. But I am sure some folks on the Left will try.

Tags: Barack Obama , Tim Pawlenty

Rep. Joe Wilson (R., S.C.) Backs Tim Pawlenty


Nice, big, early pickup of a key supporter for Tim Pawlenty this morning: Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.

From the Pawlenty release:

Congressman Wilson has been a strong conservative voice for the people of South Carolina over the past decade,” Governor Pawlenty said.  ”I am honored to receive his support in this campaign to restore America.”

“Governor Pawlenty is the best man to get our nation back on the right track,” said Congressman Wilson.  “As South Carolinians get to know Governor Pawlenty, as I have, they will see someone with a remarkable record of conservative accomplishments in a politically tough state for Republicans, and someone who has the kind of bold vision for America’s future that we need to defeat Barack Obama.”

Wilson is best known to the rest of the nation for his “YOU LIE!” outburst during an Obama address to Congress, but he is quite popular in his district, which currently encompasses part of Columbia, much of the counties that border Georgia, Beaufort County, and Hilton Head Island. His son, Alan Wilson, was elected state attorney general last year.

Tags: Joe Wilson , Tim Pawlenty

Delusional Campaign Ads? Or Just Funny Amateur Parodies?


Our old friend David Frum laments what he sees as “delusional campaign ads,” pointing to this parody ad, which he calls “slickly produced” and “made by professionals for professionals,” recently featured on Verum Serum:

Frum then points to this ad, declaring, “Suspecting that the ad was produced by the Tim Pawlenty team, the Huntsman campaign hit back.”

I think we can dispense with the “slickly produced” label; perhaps Frum is a little behind the times on what you can do with some video clips and some off-the-shelf video-editing software. I reached out to Morgen Richmond at Verum Serum, and he noted that while he’s the co-founder of a tech consulting business, the ad mostly represents the creative pokes of an inspired blogger:

I came up with the idea on a Sunday, spent a few hours on it then, and then a few more on Monday and Tuesday. I sent an initial cut to my co-blogger John . . . made just a few more edits, and then put it out there for the world to see. I put the video together using Final Cut Express on the Mac. [Retail cost: $199.] I did actually spend a little money on it since I licensed some of the video clips I used from and another site where I got the rhino clip. I had a feeling it might get some airplay and didn’t want to make it easy for someone to get it pulled off YouTube . . . This type of video was something I’ve been thinking about ahead of 2012, and so this was also a proof-of-concept for some ideas I have targeted at the other side of the aisle.

As for the claim that the second video constituted a Huntsman campaign response ad, I checked in with a consultant close to Huntsman’s team, who laughed off the speculation. The creator of the second ad, posting to YouTube under the name “SerumVerum” (note the difference), is anonymous, but there is nothing indicating a role with any campaign.

As for Frum’s point that to non-conservative ears, this sounds like an ad genuinely praising Huntsman, I suspect that was precisely the point. We laugh because other than the slow-motion rhino footage, it sounds like it could be a genuine ad for Huntsman, aimed at, if not Democrats, then the “No Labels” crowd. To Republican primary voters, the stances elicited — a carbon tax, considering health care a right (who pays for that right?), cap-and-trade — are pretty anathema, as is the idea of a GOP nominee who once called President Obama “boss.” Had the Verum Serum ad been a straight-up attack on Huntsman, it wouldn’t have been nearly as interesting. By bragging about the “wrong” things to a GOP audience, we laugh, as if it were the work of a hopelessly out-of-touch Republican advertising mind.

Of course, Huntsman isn’t just the stances ridiculed in the Verum Serum video. He’s calling for enacting the Ryan plan, wanted a bigger stimulus more heavily weighted towards tax cuts, wants to forget cap-and-trade until the Chinese and Indians agree to reduce their emissions (which is to say, never), a balanced-budget amendment, and the repeal of Obamacare. Maybe those stances won’t be enough to outweigh his past deviations from traditionally conservative approaches. But this is why we have campaigns, debates, and primaries. The campaign has barely begun, and already there are cries that candidates must be labeled as unacceptable immediately! Let all the candidates and their supporters make their cases and let the registered Republicans decide.

Tags: Jon Huntsman , Political Ads , Tim Pawlenty


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