Skip to comments.With an overnight change of heart, Tim Pawlenty becomes the first to leave GOP presidential race
Posted on 08/14/2011 11:23:34 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
Somewhere between 6 p.m. Saturday and his morning announcement of the end of his presidential campaign, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty must have had a very sobering conversation.
Pawlenty had been trying to find a silver lining in his third-place finish, far behind Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, in Saturday's Iowa straw poll.
His first comment a very brief congratulatory tweet: "Congrats to Rep. Bachmann on win. Our campaign needed to show progress and we did. I'm eager for the campaign ahead."
That was followed by an e-mail message to his supporters.
"As I said all along we needed to show progress to do well and we did just that," Pawlenty wrote. "This is a long process to restore America, but we are just beginning and I'm eager for the campaign."
A morning announcement
Then came the announcement this morning.
"We need to get some lift to continue on and have a pathway forward,'' he said on ABC's "This Week."
"That didn't happening, so I'm announcing this morning on your show that I'm going to be ending my campaign for president."
Just like that, it's over.
Did Pawlenty reach this decision on his own? Or, did one of the old pros he'd surrounded himself with let him know that there was no chance, given that the competitors are only going to get stronger and that the money needs are going to get far greater?
Or did the family, as a unit, decide, "Enough"?
On one level, it was obvious in Ames that Pawlenty and some of those closest to him were preparing for a disappointing straw poll.
After Thursday night's debate, Nick Ayers, a spokesman for the campaign, had reminded reporters that the campaign of John McCain, the eventual Republican presidential nominee in 2010, had been declared dead.
"His campaign imploded," Ayers said. "No staff, no money everybody counted him out."
Pawlenty would keep going, Ayers had said, no matter the results of the straw poll.
Talk of marathon and long view
Lou Hutchinson, a Pawlenty friend and supporter who had come to Ames from Denver to lend a hand, also had talked about the long view.
"I honestly believe these things are marathons," said Hutchinson, before the straw poll voting had ended. "It's good that Tim's run a marathon. He knows how hard and long it can be. But he'll hang in there, and we're committed to hanging in there with him."
Pawlenty did throw everything into Iowa, including, on Saturday, his family. Mary Pawlenty was urging people to vote for her husband. The couple's two daughters, who seldom were seen in public events when Pawlenty was governor, were out there, too.
The straw poll showing was bad, but still it's surprising that Pawlenty decided so quickly to toss in the towel.
Hanging in there has been part of the Pawlenty political profile. As is the case of any successful politician, he's had a heavy dose of luck in the past, too.
Some of his friends had believed that resiliency would pay off for Pawlenty in the end.
Although he's taken no formal position on any of the Republican candidates, Minnesota Republican Party Chair Tony Sutton had said days before the straw poll that the results shouldn't be taken too seriously.
"Let the process play out," Sutton had said.
Let it play out because a window might open.
For a few weeks, there will be a sudden embracing of Rick Perry by many Republicans, although it's hard to know how long that will last.
Mitt Romney wears on many of the party faithful. They've seen the act before. There's also some resentment of his silver-spoon background.
Jim McGee, a retired Iowan who was wearing a Pawlenty green T-shirt at the straw poll, explained one of the reasons he liked the Minnesotan.
"They always say you get the best politicians money can buy," said McGee. "Well, Romney's got the money. I like it that Pawlenty doesn't come from that sort of background."
Waiting for an opening
So again, the long-term strategy would have been to run, out of necessity, a low-cost campaign and hang in to see if Perry would flame out and Romney would just seem like another Republican retread, a little like Bob Dole or John McCain. If those things happened, Pawlenty would be ready to step forward, the Sam's Club Republican.
In a speech at the straw poll, Pawlenty had pleaded with the crowd to think about November 2012. He could be electable was his implied message, while candidates such as Bachmann and Paul would not.
"We need not just preach to the choir," Pawlenty said in his speech. "But we have to have candidates who can get the message across [to a broad spectrum of Americans)."
This straw poll crowd wasn't interested in such pragmatic political chat.
With every fiber of his being, Pawlenty must have wanted to stay in the race.
Since at least the last two years of his second term as governor, Pawlenty has had his eyes on the White House. Some say that he's believed he could be president from the day he first won a Minnesota legislative seat in 1992.
Presumably, by dropping out so quickly, Pawlenty could be in a position to be the running mate of a candidate such as Romney or Perry. That was a role he coveted in the McCain campaign and failed to get because of a newcomer, Sarah Palin.
Pawlenty, though, today made the traditional statement that he was not interested in the vice presidency.
Now, his presidential bid has been stopped by Bachmann and Paul.
Mainline Republicans, including some close supporters of Pawlenty, bemoan the clout of the Palin-Bachmann-Paul wing of the party.
On the other hand, Republican pols, including Pawlenty, tried to court that portion of the party, rather than broaden the base. In the end, though, that powerful group opted for other choices than Pawlenty.
The remaining laughable candidates, like Gingrich, Huntsman, et al., need to get out of the race. It’s going to come down to the real conservatives—Bachmann and maybe Palin—against the establishment candidates—Romney and Perry.
Maybe he was thinking of Paul Ryan. That Paul is very much in the same wing of the party as Palin and Bachmann.
Jon Huntsman, Jr.
Hey! Where’s Fred Karger?! LOL
You have strong feelings about Gary Johnson. People don’t even know he’s in the race!
I never ask where a gay is since I'm afraid of the answer.
Gingrich is only in to get his “Brand” free PR. Speaking fees, Book sales, Video sales. Why else would he stay in? Folks here say he has good ideas. He does not have to be in the race to “Share” his ideas.
I saw him in the debates, before they stopped inviting him. He's the guy that makes everyone uncomfortable at company parties.
“Anyone who thinks Gov. Palin, Reps Paul and Bachmann are in the same “wing” of the Republican Party should go back to flipping hamburgers and let someone else write news articles.”
I’m with you soldier. That one statement leaped out at me. I can see somewhat of linkage between Palin and Bachmann because they are Conservative Republicans that buck the “establishment” of the party...but Paul is a Libertarian not a Republican.
Whatever, I am pleased that Pawlenty is out of the race. In the last debate he ticked me off in his attacks on Bachmann....he went overboard. Of course, I will say that FOX entirely screwed up that debate. It was the WORST run one I have ever endured. Newt was right in calling the questions “Gothas”.
Grow is a huge Dembot. Anything published by him should be considered in that light
Its going to come down to the real conservativesBachmann and maybe Palinagainst the establishment candidatesRomney and Perry.
Cain is the only candidate in the race with serious ideas on how to renew America. The other candidates would be wise to learn from him. Just being able to fire up the faithful isn’t enough to win.
Maybe Gary Bauer will jump in!!
I am glad that Pawlenty dropped out, but I must say that I think this whole Iowa caucus thing is just stupid. Why should a handful of people in that state be allowed to begin the winnowing?
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