Reality Check: Pawlenty’s ‘I’m Running’ Gaffe

By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Did former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announce his presidential bid on CNN Tuesday night? And why does it matter?

On CNN’s Piers Morgan show, Pawlenty said in response to a question:

“I’m running for president. I’m not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president. So I’m focused on running for president.”

But did he really mean it?

What Pawlenty was asked was actually a question about Donald Trump and Trump’s presidential ambitions.

Morgan asked: “In a hypothetical scenario, governor, if somebody like Donald Trump was to emerge as the Republican nominee and asked you to be vice president, would you accept that honor?”

Pawlenty said he’s formed an exploratory committee for a possible 2012 presidential bid and that he would make an official announcement soon.

Candidates who form exploratory committees like Pawlenty don’t need to immediately disclose their activities.

But once you’re an official candidate, the rules change.

Here’s how the Federal Election Commission (FEC) determines if a candidate is official:

“An individual who merely tests the waters, but does not campaign for office, does not have to register or report as a candidate.  Therefore, while a campaign committee files disclosure reports, a testing the waters fund does not have to file reports until the candidacy is established.  At this point, all testing the waters activities must be disclosed on the next scheduled FEC report.  A testing the waters fund abides by the same contribution limits and prohibitions as a campaign committee.  There are activities that indicate that an individual is campaigning and, therefore no longer testing the waters.  Among these are:

  • Making statements that refer to yourself as a candidate;
  • Using advertising to publicize your intention to campaign; or
  • Taking action to qualify for the ballot.”

Pawlenty said, unequivocally, that he’s running for president, but his supporters say it’s taken out of context.

No one has filed a complaint, yet.

The Democratic Party official said, “The real issue here is that Pawlenty made a rookie mistake and bought himself a lot of trouble — this really is an example of not being ready for primetime.”

More from Pat Kessler
  • Steve

    The issue is that this looser wasn’t a good governor and would make a worst anything else. He won’t carry Minnesota. Glad to be rid of him.

  • Tony

    Tim “The Tool” Pawlenty. Ditto Steves comment. What a putz.

  • clowncollege

    He’d make a good Vice President of “Looking Out the Window”.
    Like all his civilian jobs. Ask anyone who worked ‘where he worked’ (not to be confused with ‘worked with him’)
    No one remembers him. Talk about anti-charisma.

  • bigjc

    T-paw would have my vote. Did wonders for this state.

    • helper

      So you must have upgraded to a ‘Double-Wide”

    • K.

      Bet you can’t name anything!

  • Bill

    Did wonders, like the 6.2 billion deficit??

  • david nystuen

    He wouldn’t even make a good dog catcher.

  • Murph

    Tim is running alright,running away from his district court conviction.You know the one designed to kill off old,sick and disabled people! The one that violated the constitution.The stae of Minnesota Constitution not all that long after he bashed the national Constitution.Yes, Timmy is running.Run,Tim ,run! But me and others will keep teliing the truth about you every step of the way,Won’t we folks? Let’s give ole Tim a Missourri boat ride northern style!

  • No Pawlenty

    Pawlenty, please give it up!! You won’t stand a chance with Obama and Romney! You left the Minnesota governship with a 6 billion deficit! So how do you think you will win?

  • Sandy

    Everytime you see his mug on some website, Comment. Let other’s know what a idiot this guy is and the governor he was when he lied about taxes. I don’t like Obama and didn’t vote for him. But against Pawlenty I would vote for Obama

  • dphilips

    Pawlenty balanced the budget on the backs of the poor

  • Chris K

    Now that is winning. Not for Tpawlease though

  • don

    end racisim end pawlenty

  • Tpaw sucks

    Pawlenty didn’t balance the budget at all dphilips, he robbed peter to pay paul. We can’t do that at home why should he have been able to do that here?

  • Mn Okay

    WIth all the double speak, he’s a real politician. What else is there from either Republicans or Democrats? When are we going to get a real choice instead of the standard lies of lame candidates running for president? Find me an honest candidate that I can vote for!

    • K.

      The only name I can think of that fills that request, Mn Okay, is Jesus!

  • Karuvar Ravenstar

    If we want to re-elect Obama (which some may not want of course), then hope that pawlenty somehow gets the nod. He’ll fail for sure. He doesn’t give a damn for personal rights and freedoms and looky at our deficit :\ This guy is a flake. And yes, he raised taxes by forcing smaller towns to raise taxes. It’s happened in towns around here a couple of times.

  • WHAT?????

    Mn Okay
    I am with you on that, but we are never going to get an “honest” person to vote for until we do away with the absolutely ridiculous 2 party system. All this seems to do is give the lesser of 2 evils the chance at the house. As Americans we should have figured this out long ago but I guess it takes us a while. Personally I think we should do away with the parties in general as there are people that vote just because of the party and have no idea what the policy is. I fear that the votes will stay party and not policy for a long, long time to come.

  • Katie

    The deficit Pawlenty left for Dayton now to clean up is typical of his dealings. He cut help to the cities so much that they are having to raise real estate taxes, taxing some of the elderly out of their homes. He doesn’t care about anyone except — Timmy!

  • Nine R.

    “I’ve Had Plenty Of Pawlenty”.

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