Another rocky week for T-Paw

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign (widely described as "struggling" these days) endured another rough week. There was adviser Vin Weber's description of Michele Bachmann's "sex appeal," a comment Pawlenty quickly disavowed.

Then, there was growing scrutiny in the national media about how his policies may have contributed to the state government shutdown.

On MSNBC, Chris Mathews mocked Pawlenty's assessment of the talents of Lady Gaga. "That's the most interesting thing I've heard Pawlenty say this entire campaign," Mathews said, calling him "Good-N-Pawlenty."

Then on Friday, the New York Times began a semi-epitaph by saying that the "first in line to enter the Republican presidential race'' is "now fighting to avoid becoming the earliest major candidate to be shown the door."



Health care champ Berglin to Hennepin

Sen. Linda Berglin, DFL-Minneapolis, the Legislature's foremost champion of health care services, has been hired by Hennepin County as a health policy program manager.

She said she expects to begin her county work later this month, provided a state budget agreement is reached by then.

"I will be available to work on the budget issues until the budget is resolved," she said.

Beyond that, she didn't comment on how she would coordinate the job with her Senate duties or whether she might leave the State Capitol after eight years in the House and 30 years in the Senate. Her south Minneapolis district awarded her a 10th Senate term last year.

Berglin, 66, is one of the leading architects of the state's health care and welfare policies, a soft-spoken legislator with a steel spine when it comes to defending the state's safety net.

She will work in the county's administration. Among other things, she'll help the county implement new federal health care reforms.

It's her first job in a long time outside the Legislature, which is technically part-time work, she said.

"When I was in the majority and chairing the [Health and Human Services] committee, it really did take almost all of my time, so I never thought of another job," she said.


Ex-House member to jump in 8th race

Expect one more DFLer to enter the Eighth District congressional race next week.

Rick Nolan, who served three terms in the U.S. House more than 30 years ago, is readying a challenge to GOP Rep. Chip Cravaack, DFL chair Ken Martin told Hot Dish.

Nolan has a congressional "exploratory committee," but will wrap up that phase and announce a decision this week, his spokesman Steve Johnson said.

Exploratory committee or not, Martin said Nolan is already seeking support from party delegates and staffing up. "He's in with both feet and running hard," Martin said.

Nolan would be the third DFL candidate in the 2012 race against Cravaack, the first Republican to win the Eighth District since 1947. Former state Sen. Tarryl Clark, who lost in the Sixth District to Rep. Michele Bachmann in 2010, and Jeff Anderson, a Duluth city councilman, already are in the race.