ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty peers straight ahead in a dark suit with the state Capitol behind him in an official portrait that, beginning Tuesday, will forever hang in the building.

The portrait was unveiled Monday night at a ceremony for family, friends, staff and supporters. It marked a rare public appearance for Pawlenty since his decision two months ago to end a GOP presidential campaign, a stunted bid he reflected on briefly after the event.

Pawlenty opted against a symbol-laden painting to commemorate his time as governor as several of the previous 38 have. It was done by Atlanta-based artist Ross R. Rossin, a Bulgarian native who has painted presidents and other leading generational figures.

Pawlenty said he and his wife Mary thought about using icons — a hockey stick, a lake scene or a Bible among them — but the artist advised against it. He decided on something that reflects the serious times in which he governed. The painting shows him with a muted grin and one hand in the pants pocket of his open-coated suit.

pawlentywithframe Pawlenty Gets His Face On Minn. Capitol Wall

(credit: Minnesota Historical Society)

“It is fairly straight forward. It is direct. There are no hidden symbols, no hidden agendas,” Mary Pawlenty said.

The painting breaks a recent string of Minnesota gubernatorial portraits chock full of emblems. For instance, Jesse Ventura holds a lit cigar and golf holes are visible in the background of his painting; Arne Carlson wears his University of Minnesota sweater; Al Quie is pictured with his beloved horses.

Pawlenty struck a modest tone in talking about the work and his legacy.

“I’m proud of the portrait, I’m proud of what I did as governor, but it’s one moment in time,” Pawlenty said. “It’s a blink of an eye in terms of the overall history of the state and all of that will soon be a paragraph in some dusty history book.”

The portrait unveiling leads off Pawlenty’s most visible week since leaving the presidential race in August. He is due to appear on Minnesota Public Radio on Tuesday for his first extensive interview. On Sunday, he’ll appear on “Meet The Press” to vouch for the candidacy of former opponent Mitt Romney whom Pawlenty endorsed last month.

Pawlenty dropped out after a disappointing third-place showing in the Iowa GOP’s straw poll. He said Monday his campaign was in debt and “didn’t have the additional chips to see the next card in the hand.”

In hindsight, he said he put too much money emphasis on the Iowa straw poll, and he probably pulled the plug too quickly.

“If I would have known then what I know now we would have made a different decision. However, based on what we knew at the time, we thought it was the right call,” Pawlenty said.

Pawlenty said he is considering several career options away from politics, including consulting or work for corporate boards, foundations or think tanks. He didn’t rule out a run for another office down the road.

“I’m not going to rule anything in or anything out,” he said.

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

Comments (25)
  1. G Dog says:


    1. something stinks says:

      I think I messed myself. Not alot, maybe a teaspoon full.

  2. Brennan says:

    Why is a Bulgarian painting it? you’d think they would use aan artist from Minnesota.

    1. jan says:

      Rhat’s what I think too. There are many great portrait artists in Minnesota, just check out

  3. Marcus B says:

    Too bad that we have to include all of the DOPES when the official portraits are hung in the capitol.

  4. Sorry Timmy Nobody cares says:

    Invitation only, lol I guess 3 people attending is better than none. Instead of his face they should have made a portrait of the other end.

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      i was going to say that i guess we had the same thoughts

  5. b says:

    will this guy ever go away

  6. T says:

    They should hang it in the restroom abouve the hand blow dryer.

  7. Delores says:

    Democrats are so kind .

    1. GOP says:

      Delores is so dumb.

  8. Not a Democrat says:

    Sorry Delores. Hate to bust your repulican bubble. But I am an Indepentent conservative and Pawlenty was the biggest liar governor elected in this state. He doesn’t deserve a place in the capitol

  9. LOL at the painting says:

    That is one sorry looking portrait. But then again so is the subject

    1. Meep says:

      Agreed. It looks like Pawlenty’s face is super-imposed over someone else’s face. And why are his arms so long?

  10. Kathy C says:

    For what? cutting funding to those MOST in need? Ya, a real superstar.

  11. whstoblm says:

    more goverment money that i paid for

  12. Murph says:

    I knew he would hang someday..didn’t all you too! Now if we can just hang the rest of ’em things might improve!

    1. Thomas Keim says:

      they should have just hung him on the wall and saved the money it costs to make the painting

  13. Minnesota says:

    feeling a little inadequate Timmy? It’s all a joke

  14. A Voter says:

    Should be of his backside with his pants down.

  15. james2 says:

    Framing bigotry on stroke at a time. Now, that wall is the wall of shame.

    1. james2 typo says:

      ugh, that’s one stroke at a time. in any case, it’s a portrait of a bigot.

  16. angus says:

    Why doesn’t he crawl back under his rock? He is looking for job opportunities? Why not take his ill-gotten gains and do something useful like volunteering at a food shelf? Too late to do any good but he might see how his reign hurt many people. He would probably say something profound like, “Why don’t they get a job?”

  17. Lucy says:

    Creepy…He looks like a corpse

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