Reaction to Gov. Tim Pawlenty's decision to forgo a reelection run next year was widespread among political observers -- almost all of whom focused on their belief it's a prelude to a 2012 presidential run. A sampling of takes by political journalists and columnists:
"[E]xpect Pawlenty over the next few months to begin doing the sorts of things -- making a 'big ideas' speech or two, traveling to Iowa and New Hampshire, recruiting staff, starting a federal PAC-- that people looking at running for president must do."
Politico's Ben Smith
"[His decision] certainly doesn't diminish his prospects at the 2012 Republican nomination in an era when running for president is pretty much a full-time job ..."
Politics in Minnesota's Sarah Janecek
"I'm betting Pawlenty will run for president. As one DFL [current or former] statewide officeholder told me off the record last week ... 'Heck, if the GOP field is Sarah Palin and Bobby Jindal, I'd run, too.' "
The Atlantic's Chris Good
"Pawlenty explained his decision not to run for reelection in 2010 -- which has been taken as a sign that he's interested in the presidency. ... Pawlenty said he does plan to remain active in the party -- and that's something people will look at to weigh the chances of a Pawlenty 2012 presidential run. Active fundraising on behalf of candidates and state parties in primary states is generally taken as a sign of interest in the presidency."
National Public Radio's Ken Rudin
"Pawlenty is thought to be looking at a 2012 presidential run. And no one wants to go into a presidential effort with a defeat back home. Yet that might have been the case had Pawlenty sought a third term."
Congressional Quarterly's political blog
"Pawlenty's decision frees him to pursue national ambitions. The plain-speaking Midwesterner was on the short list of vice presidential candidates for 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain and is now considered a contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination."
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