If Tim Pawlenty runs for president, can he win?

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty has been making the rounds of the national talk shows, promoting his book and preparing for a possible White House run. Today’s Question: If Tim Pawlenty runs for president, can he win?

  • Duane

    I feel the timing for this question is very bad. President gave a good speech in Arizona last night and I am sure he raised his number some. However, the answer to the question is of course he can win. We only need to look at President Obama himself. He came in with much less experience than Pawlenty and was elected. I recall the way the DFL stumbled in Minnesota during the Wellstone memorial and allowed Coleman to win and I was seeing the same developing during the three days following the shooting in Arizona. The president to his credit tried to put a stop to it, we will see how it is received by his supporters.

  • Clark

    Yes. He is smart and understands how to stand up to tax, tax and tax some more democrats.

    Most of all, Tim understands its a spending problem not a taxing problem.

    Democrats are great at spending other peoples money, but what happens when this well runs dry such as in Greece, Illinois or California.

    For those of us who actually create wealth, he can win and hope he does win.

    Could have said lots of nasty thingsabout the far left but trying to be nice just like barry stated last night.

  • Hiram

    Well at the moment the question is could he do better and raise anything near as much money as Michele Bachmann. I don’t think Michele Bachmann can get elected president, and I don’t think Tim Pawlenty stands a chance against Michele .

  • Steve the Cynic

    Sadly, yes. A country that’s capable of electing a beligerent, fear mongering, civil-rights trampling plutocrat like GWB to a second term is capable greater foolishness than I would have believed if I hadn’t lived through it. I agree with Lily Tomlin: No matter how cynical I get, I can never seem to keep up.

  • Josh D.

    I think he’d have as good a shot as any. The money is what stands against him of course. He’ll likely be going up against Mit Romney and others who have far more recognition and funding. But working for him is his relative youth, and his blue collar, center right approach. I don’t think he’s as extreme right as some would paint him (certainly not as much as Tom Emmer), and that’s what led him to success in Minnesota. I think the red/blue numbers in the country are similar to Minnesota’s, right about half and half, so whoever is going to win has to appeal to the center. I think Tim Pawlenty can do that. In fact, I think John McCain would have stood a much stronger chance with Tim for that same reason. Instead, he chose a very extreme, polarizing figure and lost.

  • Philip

    Probably not against Obama.

  • Carrie

    Are you kidding? He couldn’t even do a good job as governor of Minnesota. He left a mess, much like GWB left for his successor. He’s barely a blip on the radar. Nobody knows him and he can’t raise nearly enough money to win anyway. So I’d say the answer to the question today is no.

  • Gary F

    Remember folks, let’s tone down the hateful retoric.


    Gingrich, no, not even close. Too far out of the loop.

    Huckabee and Romney, probably not, too liberal, we lost with a liberal last time. Won’t get any support from the Tea Party people.

    Palin, maybe, but you would have to overcome both the Democratic Party, AND the mainstream media(kinda one and the same)campaigning against you. It’s a hard hill to climb.

    So………….. after that. Pawlenty rates up there higher than you think.

    It’s going to be a long two years.

  • Audrey Ferrey

    God forbid. In my nightmares.

    I’m proud of Minnesota’s contributions to the nation during the 20th century; Now we have Bachmann and Pawlenty. It would be embarrassing if it wasn’t so scary.

  • Lou

    Yes – Tim Pawlenty could be elected President, but not until 2016. I expect that he will announce his candidacy for the presidency this spring, participate in the presidential debates for the next several months, and gracefully bow out of the race after the first caucuses and primary elections which will narrow the field. If he continues to speak out on the issues and be interviewed by the major networks and if President Obama wins reelection in 2012, he will be considered one of the frontrunners for the republican nomination in 2016.

  • steve

    its hard to say because he lacks name recognition he is a strong candidate but then again jimmy got in from governerships so anything can happen! he has presidential qualities that we cant ignore!

  • bsimon

    Pawlenty is a longshot, first for winning the GOP nomination, then for beating an incumbent.

    The events of the last week may have made step one easier, as more and more people – particularly in the GOP are questioning the viability of former Gov Palin as a POTUS candidate.

    Romney will be a tough candidate for Pawlenty to beat – he already has a national organization, significantly higher name recognition and extensive ties to the business community. Despite his alleged ‘liberalism’ his ties to the business community & thus his ability to fundraise is going to make him the frontrunner. Pawlenty will have to watch for Romney to stumble & hope to capitalize on any such mistakes. If that happens, we can talk about whether he can beat the incumbent.

  • Terence

    I certainly hope and think not…Independents should be taking more responsibility for once for who gets nominated…preferably a socially and fiscally accountable person who reads David Brooks.

  • D Erickson

    Pawlenty’s dismal record as Governor of Minnesota needs to be accurately reported by the Media especially in other states like Iowa where he’s less known.

  • Jordan Prosser

    Pawlenty on a presidential ticket is highly unlikely, much less a win. He’s greatly unknown around the nation, and where he is known he is generally unpopular or uninteresting.

    He is molding his positions to fit a more republican ideal, but he’s a Minnesotan at heart, and that you can’t change.

    President? no. Although I can see him as a VP appointee being far more likely.

  • Tracy

    Perhaps not in his first attempt but I believe he has a good chance. However I personally hope he does not win. He would only screw up the entire country instead of just the state.

  • P. Nielsen

    Let’s hope not. I find him hard-hearted and stubborn and certainly have not observed him walking the walk of a Christian, something he claims to be.

  • Kevin VC

    Better question:

    Should we have people like him running?

    Someone who illegally screwed Minnesota over on the budget, left millions in need, who failed to oversee a bridge repair and then collapse, and then in general ignored Minnesota for National Political Appeasing….

    A governor who had a surplus state and left it in debt?

    Oh, yeah, that JUST what the country needs….

    (In case it has not been understood I am being sarcastic…)

    Once word gets out of his record, the best he can do is be a candidate. But win, I hope to god not.

  • Tammy

    If the economy continues to improve, I don’t think any Republican candidate will beat Obama in 2012.

  • Kevin VC

    Oh, one other thing about Pawlenty…

    Much like BUSH who had a country with a surplus when he had control in the beginning and ended up with a country in a growing debt and a bad economy….

  • Vicki

    Not if he needs MY vote. I have only lived here a short time, but I was disgusted over his apparent lack of concern about what needed to be done for the state of MN when he decided he had loftier ambitions. I know being Governor isn’t as exciting as being President but he had run for the job and really needed to do it. Once upon a time MN had school systems that were envied around the country, world class medical care and a great standard of living. What happened? Gov Pawlenty, that’s what, and I’m not sure I want him to be able to bring his “vision” to the rest of the country.

  • Kevin

    No, he is perhaps one of the worst governors the State of Minnesota. He has no concept of compromise, shows no leadership and has questionable decision making.

    His promise of no new taxes in the State is a joke, as is his contention that he balanced the states budget. He merely put the problem off and borrowed “Peter to pay Paul”.

    His goods looks and sound bite speeches and book with no substance hopefully will show through. He is a politican of the lowest form with no chance or concept of how to be a “Statesman”.

  • Mark

    Not gonna happen folks, his record preceeds him here in MN. If President Obama is responsible for the economic downturn, then ex Gov. Pawlenty is the also solely responsible for MN economic downturn. The ex Gov is more of a divider than uniter. Perhaps he should have stepped down like ex Gov. Palin did a couple of years ago.


  • Karen S.

    No, not in 2012 and doubtful in 2016. I and other Minnesotans who have seen the havoc he’s wrought in our state will speak out and loudly so that others will know, Pawlenty cannot be trusted to govern well. He doesn’t stand a chance against a true leader like Barack Obama.

  • Kari

    As a dyed in the wool liberal and as someone born and raised in Iowa, he stands a good chance there. He’s got proximity on his side. And he’s not so “in your face”. Do I think he could win a national election? Doubtful at this point. I don’t agree with anything the man says, but if you’ve ever lived/caucused in Iowa, you’ll know what I’m talking about- there are certain qualities that win people over- and he has some of them. I’m sure Republicans in Iowa appreciate his low key demeanor coupled with his sort of bare bones approach to government.

  • Charlotte Carey

    Good God, I hope not. He was a terrible governor who proudly claims he courageously stuck to his promise of no new taxes (despite the reality of the needs of the state). Just ask the citizens of this state how their property taxes were affected by this man’s lack of creativity and concern. If you follow his career it is disconcerting to see his drift to the right whenever he sensed political gain from doing so. A true McCain disciple in that regard!!

    Granted, he would make a better president than Sarah Palin but not by much.

  • Michelle

    No. I don’t even think he could win his own state if he did run.

  • Curt

    I just listened to the former Governor address the National Press Club, on MPR. I was wondering, as I listened to him tell of all his accomplishments, just what state was he talking about? He couldn’t be talking about Minnesota, or if he was, it confirms my belief that for his eight years in office, he saw a different place than where I live. I saw him reduce assistance to the poor, add fees to government services, deny Medicaid to the poorest of Minnesota’s population. Continue to push for lower taxes for business, under the false claim that reduced business taxes, encourages job growth. Refusal to compromise with the house and senate on proposed legislation, and reduction in funding for education.

    Will potential Presidential supporters see how much he has damaged Minnesota in his past eight years as Governor? I can only hope and pray so. The thought of him being the leader of the free world frightens me. His lack of understanding of the economy and foreign relations is stunning. His ambition is boundless, and also frightening. He’ll play that old song about living within your means, and lying about our President for another couple of months, till the truth about his accomplishments, or lack thereof become more public. Can he win the Presidency? I don’t think he can even come close to the nomination.

  • Stephen Ward


  • Brad Johnson

    He won’t carry Minnesota and if you can’t win your home state you’re finished. If Bachman decides to enter the race his candidacy won’t even get off the ground.

  • Joe

    I’m certain he could the support from the right because as governor he did not govern from the center, and did not really negotiate with the left at all. He might get a some support from independents also but I think it might be difficult to win a presidency. Listening to him at the National Press Club on the radio he didn’t sound inspiring or charismatic to me and right now Sarah and Michele nationally are more well known and probably popular among the right.

  • Kevin

    I don’t think so. He has shown time and again that he lacks the ability to compromise or show even the slightest sign of empathy towards those he disagrees with. He is as partisan as they come. This is probably sufficient to get him into U.S. Congress, but not the Presidency.

  • Ron

    Doubtful. He’s fairly unknown nationally, from a small state.

    He is not extreme enough in his rhetoric to be well-known or attractive to those in the party who actually vote in the primaries/caucuses and select the party nominee. That could change, but so far he is trying to position himself as the, “Aw shucks, I grew up in a blue collar town and, by golly, we just need to work hard and i’m just the nice kind of guy to lead us out of the wilderness” guy. While I don’t believe he is, based on his tenure as governor, that persona doesn’t get the base excited. But he could get a look for the VP position.

  • John

    No. He left the state in a big financial mess. The I35W bridge collapse happened on his watch while he had cut back on bridge inspections.

    We need statesman not another sleek politician.

  • Deborah

    No! More importantly the question should be: do Minnesotans want Mr Pawlenty to be president? My answer from northern MN is an emphatic “NO” and “pay attention” to the rest of the states when the candidate is rejected by his own state!

  • Lawrence

    Tim Pawlenty’s chances of being elected lessen because the number of candidates vying for the Republican nomination continually increases. But, perhaps more to the point, when Tim Pawlenty was elected in 2002 , he faced a 2-4 billion dollar state deficit. He’s left the State of Minnesota with a 6.2 billion dollar deficit; therefore, Tim won’t be able to say his government cuts actually helped the state of Minnesota, nor will Tim be able to claim the Democrats blocked efforts to reduce the State’s debt through his 8 years as Governor.

  • Thomas

    He will. Much to the chagrin of the Democrats who have no real candidate to speak of.

    Can’t wait to vote for him!!!!

  • Sarah

    Please, no! He’s not well known, he set a poor record in Minnesota, and his “my way or the highway” attitude won’t get him in the White House. … I hope.

  • Mark

    The question is, “If Tim Pawlenty runs for president in 2012, can he win?”

    Sadly, the answer is yes, potentially. That is not to imply that he would win Minnesota. He certainly would not get my vote! But of all the candidates thus far (Mitt, Sarah, Michelle), he is by far the most well-spoken, even if a poor leader. (And BTW, to publish a memior so soon after his term has ended slamming a sitting president with such brazen partisan rhetoric is absolutely unconscionable!)

  • Anne C. Jones

    Not if the rest of the country can be informed about his performance in Minnesota. It seems to me that Tim Pawlenty started out on the center right and turned hard right with a distinctly fundamentalist tone by his second term. He refused to work with the legislature, becoming arrogant and derogatory toward our elected representatives whenever opposed on issues, left the state $6.2 billion in debt but in good standing with the wealthy and his conservative credentials intact for his obvious intended presidential run. During Gov Pawlenty’a tenure, NWA was sold to Delta with the loss of thousands of jobs, the Ford Plant is running at one-third capacity and due to close–Mayor Coleman and Gov Pawlenty woke up and tried a Hail Mary pass at Ford last fall with no success–and now, Lockheed Martin is looking at closing/moving. Public school education has deteriorated, health care funding suffered, the environment is more compromised, and wait ’til you see those potholes come spring! He now travels around the country promoting his book and trying to come across, since the shootings in Tucson, as someone who promotes civility in public discourse. Such hypocrisy. Finally, he continues to recite the phrase that Sarah Palin had more executive experience than Barack Obama when he was elected, as though that actually trumps her lack of intellect or ill-informed worldview. That alone speaks to Pawlenty’s judgement. Could he be elected? After the mid-term elections, I take nothing for granted, so, God help us. Anne

  • BWMorlan

    We should be so lucky. From my personal conversations (short, but pointed) with Pawlenty, I think that more than any of the other politicians I approach, he gets that the future is not going to be a simple re-visiting of the past. In one conversation we had, he used very deliberately the term “quantum” (meaning abrupt and discrete) to describe the changes we need to accomplish as a society. The heavy hand of government on social issues, which I think so many are so fearful of, are not even part of the conversation, the economic concerns (energy leading the pack) are what he is all about. But the fear-mongers will continue to pretend that he is all about social issues because that is what drives the base (in both parties).

  • Jane

    For the sake of the country, I am hoping he won’t win. His decisions were uninformed and ego-based and he spent time in this office stumping for other Republican candidates in other states, going to China and then writing his book. I wish I could run my own agenda at my job. Pawlenty wanted us to think that he was focused on the budget and arrogantly unalotted previously funded programs. If he was such a economically attuned governor, why wasn’t the WI debt addressed previously?

  • Anne

    I grew up in northern Illinois with relatives in MN. I’m not interested in supporting Pawlenty as a national candidate, but the views expressed here as to what Minnesotans want in a governor – continue to recklessly advance expensive policies that discourage self-reliance – are why this country is awash in economic and social decay. You have to cut somewhere, yet you sit like baby birds waiting for the state to provide, far above the safety net level. (How much have states spent combatting poverty? As long as people believe it’s acceptable to be irresponsible, there will be poverty,) Your ancestors who built the state were a lot tougher than you are.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “As long as people believe it’s acceptable to be irresponsible, there will be poverty.”

    Bovine feces! Even if everyone were a paragon of personal responsibility, there would still be poverty, as long as it’s possible to be thrown into bankruptcy by a catastrophic illness, as long as there are predatory lenders, as long as markets are manipulated by under-regulated mega-businesses, and as long as folks think it’s okay to do well for themselves without regard to anyone else. There was a lot more poverty per capita in America in the late 1800s, before any social safety nets were put in place and before labor unions really took hold, than there is now. If government programs were really the cause of all our problems, Somalia would be a Shangri-la.

    Most poor folks I know are only partially to blame for their poverty, if at all. The poor folks I know are by and large not any less virtuous than the rich folks I know. One’s economic status is determined by a combination of factors, some within one’s control, and some not. I know quite a few lazy and irresponsible (but lucky) rich folks, and quite a few hard-working and responsible (but unlucky) poor folks. If you can’t see the truth of this, you need to take your ideological blinders off.

  • Patrick

    Considering that the american public regularily lets itself get fooled and trampled by slick lawyers, brokers, realtors, politicians….yea, it’s possible.

    Please, Michele. Please jump head first into the 2012 presidential race. Employment among comedians will be secure.