David Gregory/ File photo

Anyone who still doesn't believe that Gove. Tim Pawlenty is a force to be reckoned with on the national political scene should note that NBC's news department disagrees. "Meet the Press" will kick off a new series called "Meet the Press Across America" in the Twin Cities. The series has host David Gregory sitting down with key community leaders in front of a studio audience. The Minneapolis opener takes place at 4 p.m. Thursday, May 27 at Ted Mann Concert Hall on the University of Minnesota campus. Tickets are free, but they'll go fast. Check www.hhh.umn.edu/news_events/MeetthePress.html

Excerpts will run on KARE and next Sunday's edition of "Meet the Press."

Look for my interview with Gregory next weekend as well.