Monday, May 23, 2011

Pawlenty Running for President

T Paw 2: Let's be honest, it's difficult to keep a big announcement secret in politics today. Usually some "source close to" the candidate lets some reporter know what's about to happen. Tim Pawlenty's announcement was a bit different. He pre-announced his own announcement. Aides let it out late last week that Pawlenty would announce his candidacy in Des Moines Monday. Well, not all aides. Eric Woolson, who signed on to lead Pawlenty's Iowa communications efforts still kept his lips mostly sealed to me on Sunday during our interview (and I wasn't even trying to get him to say what the announcement would be!) Woolson mentioned a few times the "major announcement" that was coming Monday. No leaks from him, gov.

Pawlenty provided his own leak, I guess you could say. He sent out a message on Facebook Sunday announcing what he would announce Monday. O.K., so much for the drama.

Pawlenty's campaign picked a picturesque setting for his Des Moines announcement Monday (by the way, how do Minnesotans feel about their former governor making his big announcement in Iowa rather than his home state?) using the roof/deck of the State Historical Building in downtown's East Village (yes, New Yorkers, Iowa has one, too). The golden dome of the capitol provided the backdrop and temperatures around 80 offered about the best weather one could hope this time of year. I doubt it will be difficult Tuesday to figure out whether your co-workers snuck off Monday to listen to the speech in person. Just look for the sunburn. If the campaign wanted to win over Iowans, maybe it could have offered some SPF protection (even the crotchety media-types would have had to accept that offer).

About 200 people came to hear the speech. Here's the verbatim of it. The crowd several times offered standing ovations, but this wasn't the loud rah-rah kind of announcement Iowans have seen in the past from some other candidates (Barack Obama to name one). Again and again, Pawlenty talked of the need to tell the truth to Americans. We'll see if this is the theme he uses during his Iowa campaign. If it is, expect to hear the Democrats offer their version of his truth, too. Democrats have made Pawlenty the prime target the past week. I counted 8 news releases from the party involving Pawlenty in the past 4 days. Is he the candidate they most fear right now? At least for now?

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