Tracking Tim

If you want to talk at length to Gov. Tim Pawlenty about Sen. John McCain — or just about anything else — it might help if you don’t work in Minnesota.

Pawlenty will join joined All Things Considered host Michele Norris in Washington today for some more national exposure (Read and listen). They talked about McCain’s energy policy and about Minnesota’s role as a potential “swing state.”

Recently, Pawlenty has been more available for one-on-one interviews with the national media than the local unwashed hosts. In addition to tonight’s All Things Considered broadcast, Pawlenty appeared on CNN’s Late Edition last Sunday, was on CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer last Tuesday, Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace on June 8, and he was on MSNBC today.

Pawlenty’s one-on-one interview schedule, however, rarely includes the Minnesota media. A day before Sen. McCain’s town hall forum in St. Paul last week, MPR’s All Things Considered producer Sam Choo tried to get some time with Pawlenty for host Tom Crann. “Too busy,” was the response.

A couple of weeks before that, MPR’s Morning Edition tried to book an interview with Pawlenty to coincide with the appearance in St. Paul of Sen. Barack Obama. An official with the McCain campaign (all political interviews with Pawlenty have to go through McCain’s Minnesota office) promised to try to get Pawlenty on the show, but never called back.

MPR’s Midmorning tried for Pawlenty after the Northwest merger was announced, but was also told he was too busy. Pawlenty hasn’t appeared on the show since May 2007, a show in which Kerri Miller gave the governor a grilling far more intense — and informed — than anything he’s gotten from any of the national hosts. It’s also one of the few venues — along with Midday — when people get an opportunity to ask the governor tough questions.

The last long-form interview with Pawlenty on MPR was a half-hour broadcast he did on the hour-long Midday broadcast in May.

He hasn’t appeared on TPT’s Almanac since April. The show hasn’t extended an invitation to him since.

Pawlenty still maintains a healthy public appearance schedule and regularly makes himself available for questions by groups of reporters at his daily appearances. He also has his own radio show, although the most embarrassing moment for the governor came on the show on which he was the host.

Is there angst among the local journalists about this sort of thing? Not that one can tell. Besides, Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said, “the Governor spoke one-on-one with reporters from the AP, MPR, WCCO Radio and other news outlets after his recent visits to view storm damage and flood damage.”