Tim Pawlenty’s official announcement making his presidential run semi-official made it on page A2 in the Washington Post Tuesday, playing second-fiddle to Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, whose presidential job prospects were the subject of a front page takeout.
The former Minnesota governor’s formation of a presidential exploratory committee is pretty pro-forma stuff, even if he is the first major Republican candidate to do it. And the Post, as well as others, obviously had been taking the measure of Barbour for a while.
But the contrasting story lines say a lot about the challenges confronting Pawlenty. Barbour, the consummate Washington insider-lobbyist, is accorded “formidable contender” status in the Post. Pawlenty gets the “little known nationally” treatment, along with this stinging quote from GOP strategist Alex Castellanos: “A lot of Republicans are concerned that he’s wet wood and won’t light.”
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