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The Most Important Number in Politics Today

8

That's the number of states (and territories) Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) will have visited between mid-August and the end of this month -- a testament to the legwork he is putting in as he begins the long preparation for a presidential bid in 2012.

Pawlenty is spending today making three stops in Virginia -- including one at the state Republican party's coordinated committee office in Alexandria -- on behalf of former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell (R), the party's nominee for governor this November. (That trip is not without controversy as many Democrats have hit Tpaw for backing McDonnell after the gubernatorial nominee's controversial master's thesis came to light.)

The Virginia campaign swing comes less than one week after Pawlenty stumped for former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie in New Jersey and follows a series of events in Chicago (a fundraiser for GOPAC on August 14), a trip to Puerto Rico for the RGA (Aug. 15) and a visit to Orlando, Florida to raise money for the state party (Aug. 22).

Pawlenty's schedule for the remainder of the month is equally packed. He'll be back in Florida on Saturday night to address the National Federation of Republican Women and will return to Washington on Sept. 18 for an appearance at the Value Voters Summit. The next day Pawlenty will be on Ohio to speak at a dinner to benefit the state party and he'll finish up his month with an appearance at a Republican gathering on Mackinac Island in Michigan on Sept. 26.

That schedule doesn't include the myriad national television appearances Tpaw has been making to rebut the Obama agenda. The latest example? An interview with CNN's John King at the Minnesota State Fair -- the best state fair in the country? -- on Sunday.

Asked about Pawlenty's aggressive travel schedule, adviser Alex Conant said that "a lot of Republicans are eager to learn about Governor Pawlenty's record of conservative leadership in a liberal-leaning state, and share his story with voters in their states."

True enough. But, Pawlenty's travel is also out of necessity. He is far less well known than his likeliest foes in 2012 -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- and Pawlenty must use every spare minute he has to introduce and ingratiate himself to grassroots activists, party operatives and, perhaps most importantly, donors.

Pawlenty's level of activity even while he finishes up his second term -- he is retiring and closed out his Minnesota re-election committee yesterday -- bodes well for what he will do once he is out of office in early 2011.

Pawlenty clearly has ground to make up in the invisible primary. But, that he knows it and is working to do something about it should hearten all of those who would like to see him as the GOP nominee in 2012.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 9, 2009; 2:00 PM ET
Categories:  Most Important Number  
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Comments

Checking in with one's caseworker doesn't take all day

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Isn't JakeD amazing? He can be off playing golf yet still give this blog the benefit of his commentary! Bravo!

Posted by: sverigegrabb | September 9, 2009 9:11 PM | Report abuse

I think someone is spanking it daily to "Runner's World"

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

"He is far less well known than his likeliest foes in 2012 -- former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin -- and Pawlenty must use every spare minute he has to introduce and ingratiate himself to grassroots activists, party operatives and, perhaps most importantly, donors."

==

And exposure is going to help this colorless man how, exactly?

Second only to Romney in inspiring hands to reach for remotes

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

3. Gratuitous mention of Palin or Pawlenty in 2012 even though they aren't involved in any news item today. Check.

Most important number?--23, the number of points by which BHO would beat Palin if the race were today.

==

By 2012 she'll have racked up a few dozen more unhinged stunts to grab attention (trolling the country, basically) and the idea of voting for her in any capacity more responsible than door-open-holder will be a bellylaugh.

"Sarah who? Oh, that's right, she quit her governorship because it started being hard work."

Yeah, Palin 2012 (*guffaw*)

Pawlenty? The guy who let a bridge collapse?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

Thank God the race isn't today then.

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"But, that he knows it and is working to do something about it should hearten all of those who would like to see him as the GOP nominee in 2012."

Just wondering who would REALLY like to see him run? :) There's no Jess Willard on the horizon. Sorry.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 9, 2009 7:50 PM | Report abuse

Fourth Pawlenty in 2012 by my count. As compared to about six Palin in 2012 posts. As for positive BHO posts in this space, there have been...well, uh, none.

Three credits for the post:

1. GOP comeback shout out. Check.

2. Free ad in Washington Post for GOP candidate who could easily afford to buy an ad. Check.

3. Gratuitous mention of Palin or Pawlenty in 2012 even though they aren't involved in any news item today. Check.

Most important number?--23, the number of points by which BHO would beat Palin if the race were today.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | September 9, 2009 7:43 PM | Report abuse

"What Palin did say is no less idiotic than "from my house."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 6:15 PM "
-----
One of many idiotic statements.

Posted by: JRM2 | September 9, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

JRM2:

Perhaps, but I will continue correcting the error whenever I see it.

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

At this point she may as well have, just like Al Gore never said he invented the internet.

==

What Palin did say is no less idiotic than "from my house."

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"Is anyone else concerned about the idea that a seated governor is spending significantly more time touring the country campaigning than he is performing his duties"
-----
No, I am more concerned about the next bridge collapse since he was against taking stimulus money to rebuild infrastructure.

Posted by: JRM2 | September 9, 2009 6:14 PM | Report abuse

"Gov. Palin didn't say 'I can see Russia from my house'. Next strawman argument?"
===
At this point she may as well have, just like Al Gore never said he invented the internet.

Posted by: JRM2 | September 9, 2009 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else concerned about the idea that a seated governor is spending significantly more time touring the country campaigning than he is performing his duties, even as school districts within Minnesota and the state itself are facing record budget deficits and have already spent the vast majority of 2009 without a second senator?

==

My guess would be that Minnesotans are relieved that Pawlenty is brachiating around the country wheedling for votes than sitting in the governor's mansion doing damage to his state, and trying to get away with it by droppin' his G's

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

No, jhager1985; were you as concerned about the idea that a seated senator was spending significantly more time touring the country campaigning for "Change We Can Believe In" than he did performing his duties in D.C.?

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Is anyone else concerned about the idea that a seated governor is spending significantly more time touring the country campaigning than he is performing his duties, even as school districts within Minnesota and the state itself are facing record budget deficits and have already spent the vast majority of 2009 without a second senator?

I personally think Pawlenty would be a reasonable candidate for President but his current actions are testimony to a larger problem facing American electoral politics; namely, too much time getting your job, not enough time doing your job. More concerning is that while people like Pawlenty and so many others (insert random politician's name here) bear a level of responsibility, ultimately, it is up to us, the American people to stop buying into the inflated absurd propaganda put forth by every news organization conservative and political alike and to challenge our elected representatives to start spending some time representing us as well as challenging the media to allow our representatives the time and space to pursue that representation.

Scary times...

Posted by: jhager1985 | September 9, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to believe anyone could be so airheaded, but there you are.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite


not really. look in the mirror.

Posted by: snowbama | September 9, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

I'd say 2012 isn't T-Paw's year, but I wouldn't count him out in 2016 or 2020, if he stays in politics and is interested. A MUCH more palatable choice than Sarah-'I can see Russia from my house'-Palin would be.

==

Palin said "I can see Russia from an island in Alaska" and named this as a foreign-policy credential. It's hard to believe anyone could be so airheaded, but there you are.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

You might as well ask any of these GOPers like Pawlenty or Romney if they want their balls cut off.

==

Romney would probably do it if it would get him some juice in the primaries. Of course he'd freeze some to make sure he could continue to pollute the future with more Romney childrun.

Jeez, yet another "GOP savior!!!!!" columns. If this column stretched through space instead of time you could make wallpaper out of it.

Let Palin on the ticket too, it'd be kinda keen to see an inverted Mondale election.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | September 9, 2009 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Gov. Palin didn't say 'I can see Russia from my house'. Next strawman argument?

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 3:58 PM | Report abuse

As we've discussed, Chris, T-Paw is doing all the right things, but his problem mirrors McCain's in 08: Try as he will, he's too reasonable and center-tilting in reality to appeal to the hard Right Repubs. in the Primaries. How McCain got the '08 nomination is a mystery; probably due to his having been 'in line' since 2000.

T-Paw doesn't have that advantage. It's extremely likely (as much as can be several years in advance) that Romney will be the nominee (used candidates, anyone).

I'd say 2012 isn't T-Paw's year, but I wouldn't count him out in 2016 or 2020, if he stays in politics and is interested. A MUCH more palatable choice than Sarah-'I can see Russia from my house'-Palin would be.

Posted by: sverigegrabb | September 9, 2009 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Former" Governor Tim Pawlenty (who abandoned Minnesota some time ago to concentrate on his 2012 campaign for President) has recently been attacking President Obama for the current federal deficit and debt. On CNN last Sunday, Pawlenty said, "This nation has got a debt load and a deficit load that is unsustainable."

That's a valid observation, Tim, albeit in bad English. However, where have you been for the past eight years? During all that time, when a Republican President and a predominantly Republican Congress were running then-record budget deficits and adding a whopping $ 5 trillion to the national debt, Tim's grave concerns were nowhere to be heard. During all his meetings and appearances with President Bush, not once do I recall a single word of deficit criticism from the (former) Governor's mouth.

Facts, which are considered irrelevant by Republican politicians of the Karl Rove era, are still, in the words of President John Adams, "Stubborn things." The fiscal facts are that President Bill Clinton left office in January 2001 with the federal budget running a surplus and projected to continue annual surpluses for the following decade. When I arrived in the Senate that month, we discussed how completely the national debt should be paid down with those surpluses. (Then-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan counseled to leave $ 1 Trillion remaining, so as not to disrupt the bond markets.)

In his first months in office, President Bush proposed to demolish those future surpluses with the largest upper-income tax cut in history, and the Republican-led House and Senate happily complied. Even after the disaster of 9/11, the commencement of wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the return of federal deficit spending, President Bush and the Republican Congress proceeded in 2003 with another enormous tax cut, which also heavily favored the rich.

They enacted what the non-partisan organization, The Concord Coalition, headed by former Republican Commerce Secretary Pete Peterson, called "the most reckless fiscal policy" in our nation's history.

That recklessness, however, did not provoke a murmur of protest from Tim Pawlenty."

--Mark Dayton for Governor --
Has CC has ever even mentioned his name?

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Palin-Pawlenty is a wet dream come true for Dems.

Joked is still laboring under two misapprehensions: That the moron Palin will get the GOP nomination, and that anyone any of us have ever heard of will agree to be her running mate.

You might as well ask any of these GOPers like Pawlenty or Romney if they want their balls cut off.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | September 9, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

As for his POTUS ambitions, wake me when he gets a personality transplant.

Exactly. Poor Chris. It would be a lot easier to do a Republican Rising! blog if the party could front someone without lethal political flaws.

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

The MSM loves the base, Andy. Can't stop writing about them. Then is so disappointed when their candidates keep losing.

Pawlenty is the same kind of hypocrite all wingers are:

In an interview yesterday with Bloomberg, Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) gave a blistering speech attacking President Obama, slamming the the stimulus and efforts to reform health care. Pawlenty declared it would be “ludicrous” to think that the Recovery Act is “what pivoted” the economy back to stability. He also said any “fair critique” of Democratic health care legislation includes the argument that “death panels” would make life-or-death treatment decisions.

But as Bloomberg later reported, Pawlenty’s criticisms of the stimulus are at odds with both economists and the statements of Pawlenty’s own economic development director, Dan McElroy. McElroy, Pawlenty’s “point man on jobs and economic development,” leads the Department of Employment and Economic Development. He recently went on a 10 city road show titled “Advancing Economic Prosperity” touting the benefits of the stimulus. Speaking about the positive effects of the stimulus, McElroy said:

“Our goal was to put this money to work as quickly as possible. Communities and job-seekers throughout Minnesota are seeing tangible results from this funding.“

A longtime adviser to the governor, Pawlenty has praised McElroy as, “one of the smartest, most hard-working change-oriented leaders that has come to state government in modern history.” And McElroy isn’t the only Pawlenty official heaping praise upon the stimulus. Pawlenty’s top financial advisor, Tom Hanson, told Minnesota legislators that stimulus funds used to plug the state’s massive budget shortfall would make “all of our lives just a little bit easier.” He added, “The federal money will give us the opportunity to accept federal assistance and push it out into our state, to help as many people as possi

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Palin-Pawlenty 2012!!!

A dream come true for Dems.

Posted by: drindl | September 9, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Good thing Pawlenty is traveling all around the country, campaigning for other Rs. I'm sure the citizens of MN would rather have that than have him at home performing the duties of governor.

As for his POTUS ambitions, wake me when he gets a personality transplant.

Posted by: mnteng | September 9, 2009 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Palin-Pawlenty 2012!!!

Posted by: JakeD | September 9, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Just as it did not matter who ran against McCain, the same calculus will apply in 2012.

no one this imcompetent can be re-elected once the facts are in. the MSM lock on information is split asunder and the truth is leaking out. the evidence is mounting, the polls are dropping. all the inexperience, the warped associates, the bumbling presence, the shame and apology, the reactionary racism.

But hey, still popular in europe. Maybe Barry can resign early and head over there. How much worse could clueless Biden be?

Posted by: snowbama | September 9, 2009 2:27 PM | Report abuse

OK, shrink, I give in already!

Don't know if it matters whether TPaw is pumped up to go against Mitt, Sarah, and Huck. It may be diverting to watch, but the nominee in 2012 will lose so ignominiously that they will not be heard from again. The successful 2016 GOP candidate will not run in 2012.

Posted by: mikeinmidland | September 9, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Pawlenty does an 8 state tour and he is found on the Fix. Palin tweets that the 'Death panels are real' and she is on the front page of CNN.

Not to mention that someone has bid 25,000 bucks to eat dinner with Palin and her husband.
Got to love the base of the republican party.

Posted by: AndyR3 | September 9, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Republican Rising

Posted by: shrink2 | September 9, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

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