Gov. Pawlenty was on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning to talk about his endorsement of conservative Doug Hoffman in NY-23. Things got interesting, however, when the interviewers started asking Pawlenty who he would consider a moderate Republican. He said GOP Rep. Erik Paulsen and former GOP Rep. Jim Ramstad were examples.
But the interviewers then asked whether Pawlenty supported Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine. At first he sidestepped the question. On a follow up, he said “We want Olympia Snowe in the big tent but she can’t say she’s a Republican and vote against the Republican position much of the time.”
When pressed further, Pawlenty said “I’d much rather have a Republican than a Democrat in Maine.” He didn’t say a positive thing about Snowe during the interview.
What makes this interesting is that Pawlenty has repeatedly said on the stump that Republicans need to do a better job of attracting independents and conservative Democrats to the Republican Party.
Update: Here’s the video:
Update: NBC’s Chuck Todd said any doubt that Pawlenty is running in 2012 should be erased. It’s an interesting analysis that does not do Pawlenty any favors.