ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Bopping from one national TV interview to the next, Republican Tim Pawlenty played for laughs Tuesday to counter a humdrum image while also asserting himself as a tested figure who could be a credible presidential candidate.

The media blitz by the former Minnesota governor is connected to the official release of his autobiography, “Courage to Stand: An American Story.” In coming weeks, he’ll make his way to Iowa, New Hampshire, Ohio and other states with White House importance to give speeches and sign books.

Pawlenty, an all-but-declared candidate, told his interviewers that they’d have to wait a few more months for an official announcement. But he left little doubt about which way he was leaning.

Asked on ABC’s “The View” if he has what it takes to make a viable White House bid, Pawlenty turned to humility.

“I tell people it helps if you are going to run for president to be a billionaire, to be famous or to have some novelty. I don’t have any of that,” Pawlenty told Barbara Walters. “But I have a great record. I think I have a good heart. I think I understand what the country needs, and I think I can help.”

Earlier, Pawlenty drew laughs by saying he’d select Walter’s co-host Whoopi Goldberg as his running mate.

It was a different tone on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” when he was all business.

He reflected on the shooting tragedy in Arizona by calling for “a more civil, thoughtful discourse in this country.” He differentiated himself from Sarah Palin, who John McCain selected over him for his vice presidential candidate in 2008. Pawlenty said he never would have used crosshairs on a map as Palin did to signal GOP campaign targets, but he stressed there “was no evidence” to suggest Palin’s moves motivated the shooting.

To make a point about the complexity of the nation’s tax code, Pawlenty floated the idea of forcing members of Congress fill out their own forms to understand “the mindless burdens” lawmakers put on Americans.

“No help of an accountant, a lawyer or a tax specialist,” he said.

Over two days, Pawlenty also had plans to appear on programs on Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC and Comedy Central.

The Democratic National Committee offered a sarcastic take to Pawlenty’s book venture.

“Between all his TV appearances and his trips to Iowa and New Hampshire, we’re surprised he had time to write a book, let alone govern a state,” said DNC press secretary Hari Sevugan. “Nonetheless, we wish him the best of luck on his book tour.”

Since deciding 18 months ago not to run for a third term, Pawlenty has been traveling the country and dishing out campaign contributions through his federal political action committee. He has also been working to build his stature on Capitol Hill, where Minnesota Rep. Erik Paulsen is among those trying to open doors for Pawlenty.

Paulsen said he would side with Pawlenty even if another Minnesotan — fellow GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann — jumps into the 2012 race.

Paulsen said the book tour could help Pawlenty combat the rap that he’s too reserved.

“People are going to see first-hand that he is the real deal,” Paulsen said. “He is exactly the type of personality and projects the type of leadership that the country really needs right now.”

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (5)
  1. betty says:

    He differentiated himself from Sarah Palin? But he has been kissing up to her for a long time. Now he wants to President and he will run away from her. Just another politican.

    1. Chuck says:

      Kissing up to her?! You must be confusing him with someone else…
      He is considerably different from the Tea Party people, so I do not think that is a problem. He is more his own man than most other politicians.

  2. Ahawkeye says:

    Pawlenty is a disaster and disgrace to Minn. Gettting him on national TV wlii lets others see just how stupid the guy is and self serving he really is..

  3. Murph says:

    How will Tim run….away from his district court conviction? How will that affect the over 50 peoples vote? the sick and disbled? The votes of their family members and friends.Forget Tim,he may be full of himself,but his closet is full and smells worse the death panels he screeched about! He is still the only politician to try illegally to act as a death panel all by himself.Pawlenty can’t overcome Pawlenty.Nor probably anyone else!

  4. Ignorance must be bliss says:

    I do hope that he wants to run for Pres. I would love to go through an entire election laughing instead of the norm. This would make the decision of who to vote for in the next election so much easier as you would not have to pick the lesser of 2 evils, there would be 1 evil and 1 HE!! NO NEVER AGAIN candidate.

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