MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty may be running for president, but he’s not ready to be official about it.
Pawlenty moved quickly Tuesday to knock down a CNN story that appeared to show him officially entering the race.
During an airing of Piers Morgan Tonight, taped earlier in the day, the talk show host remarked on Pawlenty’s low standing in early polls. He asked if Pawlenty would consider being real estate tycoon Donald Trump’s No. 2 on a ticket. The former governor laughed and responded, “I’m running for president.”
Later in the interview, Morgan asked Pawlenty to clarify if that was an official announcement.
“I’ve got an exploratory committee up and running and we’ll have a final or full announcement on that in the coming weeks,” said Pawlenty, who formed an exploratory committee last month. “It won’t be too much longer. But everything is headed in that direction.”
After the show aired, Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant took issue with the way in which CNN promoted the interview throughout the afternoon and in Morgan’s online blog. That blog included a video clip of the portion of the interview. It was listed under the headline, “Tim Pawlenty says ‘I’m running for President’ and comments on Trump as possible opponent.”
“We asked CNN to release the full transcript after they reported the full quote out of context, and they refused,” Conant said. “We have expressed our displeasure with them. The full transcript clearly shows the governor did not make a final decision and will make a decision in coming weeks.”
Conant said a formal announcement by Pawlenty about running for president would come later this spring.
Later, Morgan posted on Twitter that Pawlenty had “clarified” his statement about running for president and included the quote from later in the interview.
The host’s representative, Meghan McPartland, released this email statement to The Associated Press Tuesday night: “The quotes and video we released were not taken out of context, and we made it clear from the beginning that Pawlenty said he would make it official in the near future.”
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