Pawlenty sets out criteria for making his big decision

  • Star Tribune
  • August 28, 2009 - 9:09 PM

Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he still isn't sure whether he will run for president in 2012 but on Friday set out one of the criteria that will guide his decision.

"One thing I would use as a measurement is: 'To what extent is the message that I'm conveying, both here and nationally, making a difference,'" the Republican said. "Do people support it? Do they find it helpful? Is it something they want to see advanced? Do they want me to be the one to advance it?"

Earlier this week, he told Bloomberg Television that he "would consider" running for president if his message got traction.

Pawlenty said Friday that "sharing my ideas" is among his current priorities, along with faith, family and finishing his term well.

The two-term governor has traveled outside of Minnesota to share those ideas often of late and has at least two more trips planned. He'll go to New Jersey to campaign for GOP candidate for governor Chris Christie and, in mid-September, will travel to Florida to speak to a national Republican women's group.

Asked Friday if his message had gotten traction so far, he said: "I don't know. Most people don't even know who I am."

And the outcome of the speechifying?

"Maybe at the end of that I'll say, 'I gave it my time, I provided the energy and ideas and advocacy and leadership that I could, and it is time to go on to something else,'" he said.

Pawlenty said that he and his campaign aides have been calling nonprofits to arrange donations from his leftover state campaign money as part of the process of closing his gubernatorial campaign committee.

He will also give some cash or campaign assets to GOP groups. But, he said, he doesn't have plans to give any of it to the candidates currently running to replace him.

After that state committee is shut down, he said he'll look into setting up a federal fund-raising committee.

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger • 651-292-0164

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