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Tpaw's Inner Circle



Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is moving quickly to build a team for his 2012 presidential bid. AP Photo/The Detroit News, John L. Russell

Earlier today Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) unveiled a detailed list of state and national operatives -- first reported on by Jmart -- who will serve as the core of his political inner circle as he moves toward a presidential bid in 2012.

Here's a look at the key players:

* Phil Musser: The executive director of the Republican Governors Association during the 2006 election cycle, Musser advised former Gov. Mitt Romney's (Ma.) presidential campaign last year and has close ties to a number of prominent governors including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Musser is currently a consultant with New Frontier Strategies. (Interesting fact: Musser and the Fix went to the same high school.)

* Terry Nelson: Nelson, an Iowa native, managed the presidential bid of Arizona Sen. John McCain before he left that post in mid-summer 2007 amid a campaign overhaul. Nelson previously served a national political director for President George W. Bush's re-election race in 2004 and has also spent time in senior positions at the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

* Sara Taylor: A former political director in the Bush White House, Taylor, like Nelson, hails from Iowa. She has long been regarded as a Tpaw advocate.

* Vin Weber: A former Minnesota Congressman, Weber is now a well-known lobbyist in Washington -- providing Tpaw entree into that well-heeled community. Weber was with Romney in 2008, serving as a senior policy and political strategist.

* William Strong: Strong, a vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, is a fundraising force in the business community. A "Ranger" for Bush in 2004 -- meaning Strong raised $200,000 or more for the president's re-election -- Strong backed former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) in 2008.

* Alex Conant: Conant, a Minnesota native, spent the 2008 election flacking for the Republican National Committee. Since then, he's started his own business and has his own blog (who doesn't?). Prior to the RNC, Conant did stints with the Bush White House and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).

* Michael Toner: Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, has been intimately involved in several recent presidential efforts including serving as general counsel to Fred Thompson in the 2008 primary season.

At first glance, the biggest strengths of Pawlenty's operation are the presidential-level experience of the team and the strong connections both Nelson and Taylor have to Iowa -- almost certain to be the first 2012 vote in the country in 2012.

The only obvious gaping hole in Pawlenty's inner circle is on the money front. Aside from Strong, there is no financial heavy hitter who can begin to rally the major donors from the two Bush campaigns and, to a lesser extent, the McCain campaign, behind Pawlenty.

It's worth noting, however, that many of the people who will serve as Minnesota co-chairs for Pawlenty's PAC -- former Target CEO Bob Ulrich, Voyager Bank CEO Tim Owens, Marvin Windows president Susan Marvin -- are major financial players in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, which suggests Pawlenty is not incapable of courting these whales.

Still, Romney's demonstrated fundraising ability -- and his vast personal wealth -- mean that one of the first hurdles Tpaw will have to clear is to show he can collect the sort of cash that can keep him withing shouting distance of the former Massachusetts governor.

And, with President Barack Obama -- and the $750 million he raised in 2008 -- looming in the general election, you can bet a candidate's ability to raise heaps of cash will be much on the mind of the Republican chattering class heading into the 2012 primary season.

By Chris Cillizza  |  October 1, 2009; 11:47 AM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2012  
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Comments

Great! In case you've forgotten, we haven't had a terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 2001.

Posted by: JakeD | October 4, 2009 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Speaking as a Minnesota voter, I wish Pawlenty would do a Palin and resign now. He's made such a mess of our state budget, university and K-12 funding, health care and transportation systems (remember the I35 W bridge?) that the sooner he leaves the better.

As for his presidential chances, we just spent 8 years with a former governor who had no international experience and thought he knew everything. How did that turn out for you?

Posted by: trl618 | October 2, 2009 11:24 AM | Report abuse

This guy's only distinction, aside from looking like he's falling asleep

==

Funny you mention that, I can't stand "sleepy eyes." I thought we were seeing a succession of badly-timed snapshots but no, not that many. Ugh. Creepy. Sleep or wake up but don't spend your life with a foot in each.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 2, 2009 1:38 AM | Report abuse

This guy's only distinction, aside from looking like he's falling asleep, is his his membership in the "tenther movement," one of the many idiotic racist proxy agendas (see teabaggers, deathers, birthers, secessionists, Clown Hall protesters, et al.).

The "tenthers" hold that everything Obama enacts can be ignored/disobeyed on "Tenth Amendment" grounds.
_________

"When a caller asked, “I want to know if any of the governors are willing to invoke the 10th Amendment if the health care bill is passed,” Pawlenty replied:

Depending on what the federal government comes out with here, asserting the 10th Amendment might be viable option, but we don’t know the details. As one of the other callers said, we can’t really even get the president to outline what he does or doesn’t support in any detail. So we’ll have to see. I’d say that’s a possibility.

You’re starting to see more governors, including me, and specifically Gov. Perry from Texas, and most Republican governors express concern around these issues and get more aggressive about asserting and bringing up the 10th Amendment. So I think we could see hopefully a resurgence of those claims and maybe even lawsuits if need be."

http://thinkprogress.org/2009/09/11/pawlenty-tenther/

Sad...and silly.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 1, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

It DOES read like the barest rephrasing of a Pawlenty Press Release.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 1, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad. (34th?) Pawlenty in 2012 post.

FWD from Washington Post business dept.:

"Dude, make this clown pay for ads in the Post from now on, por favor. Dinero!"

Posted by: broadwayjoe | October 1, 2009 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Actually the story about Sara Taylor is true. Noted that she said "she upheld the oath to the President" which Spector corrected her by saying "the constitution." I wonder if she will follow the same act if Pawlenty gets by the primary. Considering the money thing, I think not. There's people in MN don't like him for using accounting gimmicks and other means to balance the budget.
That's two strikes against him before he had a chance.

Posted by: beeker25 | October 1, 2009 4:57 PM | Report abuse

I can't wait for "Mr. Excitement" to get his campaign rolling. Prediction: in and out in 3 weeks.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | October 1, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

GOD I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT TIM PAWLENTY I CAN'T SLEEP OR EAT OR GO TO THE TOILET. I CAN'T WAIT TO GO OUT AND CAMPAIGN FOR HIM!!!

See how ridiculous this is?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2 and JakeD - you two should probably get a room! Not this one though. Just out of courtesy. thanks.

Posted by: Julescator | October 1, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2 and JakeD - you two should probably get a room! Not this one though. Just out of courtesy. thanks.

Posted by: Julescator | October 1, 2009 3:01 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans certainly have made "running for office" into an art form. They love running for elections almost as much as then like prepared, uniformly delivered "talking points. This is when the do all the hard work. However, once they get into office they make huge mistakes, don't walk the "talking points" and actually leave the country worse off than when they found it.

Posted by: Julescator | October 1, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Who cares what sort of GOP eager-beavers are willing to accept money from Pawlenty? He would need divine intervention to have a shot at national politics. He doesn't have a chance. He has nothing to offer and hasn't the skills to offer it, a bland colorless man with eyelids at permanent half-mast and the personality of a picket fence.

Why is this news? No wonder the thread's already turned into another JakeD Palin puff piece. By 2012 she'll probably be doing YouTube videos of unhinged attention-seeking stunts involving sex with animals.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Hey Chris C when are you going to finally take out the trash?

Just read your own comments sections and look how shabby they are with this stupid troll crapping up every thread with the same six posts in endless rotation. And one after another the good contributors are giving up trying to get a word in edgewise as this stupid little creep cycles through his tired routines.

Is this what you want?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | October 1, 2009 2:46 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 (if you ever bother to answer my previous questions to you, we can start your proposed new discussion with this):

"It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol than to contribute to the well-being of the child," said a statement from a Palin family representative. "We're disappointed that Levi [is] engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration and even distortion of their relationship. Bristol’s focus will remain on raising Tripp ... Bristol realizes now that she made a mistake in her relationship and is the one taking responsibility for their actions."

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Careful with the name-calling and personal attacks.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

you don't seem to think at all... period.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 2:18 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:

I don't seem to think that at all.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

Do you want to discuss LEVI Johnston or not?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

jaked seems to think Palin will spend her personal funds to gain the nomination, a la Romney. It's that razor-sharp discernment that brings such value to his comments.

Posted by: nodebris | October 1, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"It seems that he has the support of alot of the Bush team..."

Well thats a relief.

America will wait for a Republican candidate with something to offer besides tax cuts for the rich and vicious military adventures, staged to prove we won't appease commies and islamofascists.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 2:11 PM | Report abuse

reason5:

When Gov. Pawlenty sells 1.5 million books, let me know.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

CC mentioned doubts on Pawlenty's fundraising abilities. He is just now beginning his PAC. He will well outraise Palin and Huckabee. He's recruiting alot of Iowa organization and support early. Smart move. He has the financial heavyweights in his own state lined up. It seems that he has the support of alot of the Bush team, and I have to say more will follow. Romney will lose a whole lot of support as it floods to Pawlenty. I think Pawlenty is the front runner for the Republican nomination in 2012. He will match Romney with one major difference: Romney is Mormon & Pawlenty is a Christian. This will be a big deal in a Republican primary.

Posted by: reason5 | October 1, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Poor Bristol, indeed. I really do feel sorry for those kids.

Every photo I see of Pawlenty he looks half-asleep, or like he's been smoking pot or something. He looks like he could put an audience in a coma. Not exctly galvanizing.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

shrink2:

I would be happy to answer your questions to me just as soon as you answer my questions to you, already pending below; I also assume you meant "Levi" instead of "Luke"?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Don't you believe what Luke said?

Whilst #1 was drinking in the garage, she was ordering out. Poor Bristol. How not to home school, I'd say.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Do try to keep up, drindl dear (lest someone label YOU "lazy").

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:42 PM | Report abuse

"When African Americans express paranoia about the origins of the AIDS virus or the crack epidemic, sympathetic liberals explain that this paranoia is understandable given the Tuskegee experiments. Perhaps a little understanding of the paranoia that arises from the history of eugenics in this country would be in order. (And it's not like last Fall you didn't see various modern "progressives" writing some truly awful things about Palin's decision not to abort Trig!)"

http://volokh.com/posts/1250122857.shtml

"Palin should have done what 90% of women do upon learning they are bearing a Down syndrome baby."

Posted by: chrisfox8 (now posting as "GoldAndTanzanite")| August 13, 2009 4:33 PM

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/thefix/morning-fix/morning-fix-nelson-strikes-bac.html

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty is certainly making all the right moves that will boost him among the party faithful. Which makes me wonder: do the party faithful want someone who can govern competently, or are they too deeply enamored with the borrow-and-spend policies that keep dragging this country down? Pawlenty made a bold move this year to use Minnesota's somewhat unique 'unallotment' process to 'balance' the state budget. But did Pawlenty use the opportunity to pare back the size of government? Did he eliminate useless, redundant or excessive government bureaucracies that are overreaching? No. He imposed accounting gimmicks on the state's school boards that are forcing them to bear the burden of borrowing money until next year, when Pawlenty apparently thinks new sources of funding will magically appear, enabling the state to pay the schools what they've promised. Bold leadership? I think not. But he talks a good game, and that's apparently what it takes to get ahead in today's Republican party.

Posted by: bsimon1 | October 1, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"Please, keep up the personal attacks. It would help if you made disparaging remarks about her being a woman or, especially, that she should have aborted Trig."

Look at this nut. You state a fact about Palin -- she is lazy, which is pretty obvious to everyone. Then he just makes up this over the top cr*p.

You said it, bobo, no one here did.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

What CC didn't mention about advisor Sara Taylor - a Rove acolyte and fellow dirty trickster:

"...Sara Taylor, a former top aide to Karl Rove, who resigned her position during the U.S. Attorney scandal.

Taylor's testimony during the U.S. Attorney hearings sure was interesting. When confronted with the fact that she'd conducted official government business through a private RNC e-mail account, she explained that it was more "efficient" than using both the RNC e-mail and the government e-mail. In addition, Taylor refused to answer many questions, citing executive privilege, and for other questions said she couldn't recall the answers:"I can't remember what I had for breakfast last week."

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

What is Jake smoking today? Could we get him a quaalude or some thorazine?

I don't think Harper Collins will be turning the entire purchase price of the book over to Palin. They might expect a bit to cover expenses, and her cowriter will be expecting something for her efforts, too. Still, I'm sure the prominent snowbilly will make a bundle, you betcha.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | October 1, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

shrink2 (maybe you can answer these questions of mine from the "Morning Fix" thread):

Sarah Palin is "proudly ignorant" huh? Or, is that too "incoherent" for you in between conference calls?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:16 PM | Report abuse

OK

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

love hurts

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

cfeher:

Please, keep up the personal attacks. It would help if you made disparaging remarks about her being a woman or, especially, that she should have aborted Trig. I would love for her to get the majority of the women vote because of that.

Do you really think she was "too lazy" to run for VP too? Which State were YOU Governor of? I mean, come on, IF she decides to run for President, don't you think she will take into consideration?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is too lazy to run for President. That would involve like, reading and other hard stuff. Period, end of story.

She is, however, very interested in making a whole lot of money. So, pony up your bucks, suckers.

Posted by: cfeher | October 1, 2009 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is too lazy to run for President. That would involve like, reading and other hard stuff. Period, end of story.

She is, however, very interested in making a whole lot of money. So, pony up your bucks, suckers.

Posted by: cfeher | October 1, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:

That's not financial "support" though. Why don't you put your money where your mouth is?

jaysit:

Which "tough incumbent President" are you referring to? Is Obama going to resign and hand over the reigns to Biden? Especially since BILL AYERS wrote Obama's book?

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

Very funny. Seriously, though, ask ANY serious political consultant from either side of the aisle whether Sarah Palin could win if she raised $10 BILLION (Obama "only" got $750 million) from TENS OF MILLIONS of individual donors. Keep in mind that she "only" needs 60-70 million votes, assuming that 30 million actually donate to her campaign, she's half way there.

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

My strong encouragement comes in the form of working up lunatics like yourself into a strong froth of indignation and self-righteousness. Whipping up her base, so to speak.

Posted by: nodebris | October 1, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty was elected as Governor in Minnesota only because he got the most votes in a 3-way race. In both gubernatorial elections he got less than 50% of the vote, and only 1% more than the leading Democrat. Let's see if he can handle a tough incumbent President. As for Sarah Palin, she's popular only among fringe Republican wingnuts. The rest of the nation still thinks she's an idiot, and no fake books ghost-written by fellow wingnuts can change that reality.

Posted by: jaysit | October 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty was elected as Governor in Minnesota only because he got the most votes in a 3-way race. In both gubernatorial elections he got less than 50% of the vote, and only 1% more than the leading Democrat. Let's see if he can handle a tough incumbent President. As for Sarah Palin, she's popular only among fringe Republican wingnuts. The rest of the nation still thinks she's an idiot, and no fake books ghost-written by fellow wingnuts can change that reality.

Posted by: jaysit | October 1, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to nodebris: it's "stupid" now to donate money to the eventual nominee, regardless of party? I would think that's where the SMART money goes. So much for backing up your statement: "I strongly support a Republican movement to draft Palin as the GOP Presidential candidate in 2012."

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

"koolkat_1960:

I think if she raised money from tens of millions (Obama "only" got 2 million individual donors), for a total of $10 billion, I think at least Mr. Cillizza would sit up and notice ; )"

Oh, many people would sit up and take notice: P.T. Barnum, Will Rogers, H.L. Mencken...

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 1, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

If the 2012 Presidential primaries were held today, Gov. Sarah Palin would be on the GOP ticket —- once the shock wore off as to how the heck did this get moved and more than the 200 who voted at the annual Values Voter Summit cast their ballots -- of course, if the 2008 Presidential primaries had been held THREE YEARS before the actual dates they were, it would have been Rudy Guilliani for the GOP and Hillary Clinton for the Dems ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

From the MinnPost:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — If the 2012 presidential primaries were held today, Gov. Tim Pawlenty would not be on the ticket — at least if it were up to a crowd of Christian conservative voters who gathered in Washington D.C. this weekend to attend the annual Values Voter Summit.

Despite a well-received speech that Pawlenty gave at the event on Friday evening, former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney were still the most popular picks, according to a straw poll conducted at the gathering.

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

I do not need to display stupidity myself to encourage yours, jaked.

Posted by: nodebris | October 1, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Vin Weber, eh? Now there's an advisor. A neocon, one of the main cheerleaders [and profiteers] for war with Iraq --and a lobbyist for Freddie Mac!

"He is a member of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and was one of the signers of the January 26, 1998, PNAC Letter sent to US President Bill Clinton.

Currently, Weber is managing partner of the Washington, D.C. branch of lobbying firm Clark & Weinstock. In 2006, Weber's firm received $360,297 from home mortgage giant Freddie Mac to lobby on their behalf'

Posted by: drindl | October 1, 2009 12:36 PM | Report abuse

nodebris:

You can start by donating here.

https://secure.donationreport.com/donation.html?key=A39ENEF7IQFZ

If you prefer to contribute to SarahPAC by check, please mail to:

SarahPAC
P.O. Box 7711
Arlington, VA 22207

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Cizilla... I have not seen you this excited about repuglican
prospects since they announced Clay Akins would be playing the lead in Spamalot.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | October 1, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

koolkat_1960:

I think if she raised money from tens of millions (Obama "only" got 2 million individual donors), for a total of $10 billion, I think at least Mr. Cillizza would sit up and notice ; )

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I strongly support a Republican movement to draft Palin as the GOP presidential candidate in 2012.

Posted by: nodebris | October 1, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Well I can't wait for 2012.
The Republican slate remains ridiculous.

You people need a formidable candidate, one whose candidacy is organized around an American economic miracle (hint, don't screech Drill Baby Drill at your convention).

You need a person strong enough to yes threaten the party platform into coherence (As in: "Get on board this train or lie down on the tracks."). So far, you only have reactionaries. No inspiration whatsoever.

Posted by: shrink2 | October 1, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin could raise ten billion dollars and not get elected president.

By all means give her lots of your money, you poor sap.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | October 1, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

$15.65 x 1.5 million (first printing) = $23,475,000

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin will be able to raise a lot more money than T-Paw:

Now #1 Bestseller at BOTH Amazon and Barnes & Noble:

http://www.amazon.com/Going-Rogue-American-Sarah-Palin/dp/0061939897

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Going-Rogue/Sarah-Palin/e/9780061939891/?cds2Pid=29205&inframe=y

Posted by: JakeD | October 1, 2009 11:54 AM | Report abuse

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