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Pawlenty Jokes ‘Only Wife’ Could Stop Pres. Run

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Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty talks to reporters after signing copies of his new book, "Courage to Stand," at the Family Christian Book Store January 30, 2011 in Ankeny, Iowa. Pawlenty is eyeing a run for the GOP presidential nomination and has made several trips to Iowa, which will be holding its famous "first in the nation" caucus in about a year. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty talks to reporters after signing copies of his new book, “Courage to Stand,” at the Family Christian Book Store January 30, 2011 in Ankeny, Iowa. Pawlenty is eyeing a run for the GOP presidential nomination and has made several trips to Iowa, which will be holding its famous “first in the nation” caucus in about a year. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty answered his successor’s sharp criticism over the state’s fiscal shape during an appearance on national television Thursday.

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, the likely Republican presidential candidate responded to Democrat Mark Dayton’s remarks during his first State of the State speech as Minnesota governor. Dayton said he inherited a “horrendous fiscal mess” from Pawlenty.

Pawlenty said Thursday the state’s $6.2 billion deficit isn’t unusual; that in fact 49 of 50 states are running a deficit caused by the “worst economic collapse since World War II.

Asked what might stop him for running for president, Pawlenty joked it would only be his wife. Then he went on to say his family is supportive of any decision, but that a run for president creates a burden on the candidate’s family. Pawlenty says he expects to make a final decision in a month or so.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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