WASHINGTON - A staffer with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty's presidential exploratory committee was arrested in Iowa Wednesday on suspicion of public intoxication and trespassing.

Benjamin Foster, 24, was Pawlenty's first hire in Iowa. He is being placed on a two-week unpaid suspension.

"Gov. Pawlenty is extremely disappointed in Ben's actions, and his behavior does not meet the standards he expects of his employees," committee spokesman Eric Woolson.

Foster was arrested about 3 a.m. in Ankeny after a 15-year-old girl found him drunk and trying to enter her family's back door, according to KCCI-TV in Iowa. The family said Foster vomited in the yard.

"His arm was in my back door, trying to get in and I screamed and went upstairs to my parents' room," the teen, Chloe Steward, told the TV station.

Police told the Des Moines Register that Foster was trying to go to a friend's house where he was staying, but that house was actually in a nearby city.

Foster, a 2009 University of Alabama graduate, was hired by Pawlenty's Freedom First political action committee in September 2010.

In a statement, Foster said: "Last night I made a very serious mistake. I take full responsibility for my actions. I want to apologize to all affected by my poor judgment. I especially apologize to the people who were disturbed during the incident and the arresting officers. I give my word that it will never happen again."

Jeremy Herb • 202-408-2723