Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty kicked off the “exploration” phase of his 2012 presidential run Monday evening with a tele-town hall, where the governor cast himself as Republican Party uniter.
“I think I’m going to be unique in the field to be able to deeply and genuinely appeal across that whole spectrum,” Pawlenty said of the different conservative factions. “It’s fair to say that many of them [other candidates], and maybe all of them, really will primarily appeal to just one of those categories, maybe one-and-a-half of them, but I don’t think they’re going to be able to cover the full spectrum like I can.”
“I think I’m in a position to really authentically appeal to the whole conservative movement and unify it,” Pawlenty said.
The tele-town hall was Pawlenty’s final phase of a daylong presidential rollout. It followed a video announcement on Facebook earlier Monday where the former Minnesota governor said he was starting a presidential exploratory committee.
People on the town hall call got to ask Pawlenty questions, but perhaps not surprisingly, five of the seven questions were from Iowa and New Hampshire residents — the first-in-the-nation caucus and primary states.
Pawlenty got two questions on Libya, where he said he had called for a no-fly zone several weeks ago and President Obama needed a clearer message on the goals there.
He was also asked about his lack of name recognition, but Pawlenty said that the early polls — where he’s consistently remained in single digits — didn’t mean much because he didn’t have a national profile yet.