Pawlenty lost his mojo, friends say

Categories: T-Paw
pawlentydeer.jpg
The old Tim Pawlenty would never let this old lady get away with that.
Tim Pawlenty's close friends and allies can't figure out what happened to their charismatic Minnesota Governor.

Pawlenty has changed from a charming, reliable local to a flat national figure since he decided to run for president, political allies told the Huffington Post.

Some blame his new team of advisers for robbing Pawlenty of the energy and edge that won him two elections in Minnesota. Whatever it is, now he doesn't look like someone who'll be winning anything, anywhere.

Vicki Tigwell, a longtime political player in Minnesota who grew up with Pawlenty in South St. Paul, told HuffPo she doesn't know why, or even how, Pawlenty's changed.

"The charisma that engaged him with Minnesotans doesn't seem to be connecting at the same level," Tigwell said. "I don't know if it's the national stage. I don't get it."
pawlenty won.png
Back then, Pawlenty won. Now, not so much.
The story tracks the rise and fall of Pawlenty's toughness, from the feisty little junior high kid who wrote a letter to the newspaper calling for the Superintendent to take pay cut during a teachers' strike, to the dud who's in sixth place among Iowa Republicans in a recent Des Moise Register poll.

The most recent evidence: A poll this week out of New Hampshire showing that he's still stuck in the GOP basement, and FEC reports showing that the wheels seem to have fallen off his fund-raising machine.

That he can't even get juice in his neighboring state might spell doom for the campaign, especially since Pawlenty seems to have put all of his eggs in the Iowa basket.

Former DFL House Minority leader Tom Pugh, who battled with Pawlenty in the legislature and on the hockey rink, said he's noticed that Pawlenty's not fighting like he used to.

"I don't know if he's not enjoying this, if he's tired, if people are telling him to be a little bit more bland and gray and that the flakes will somehow disappear in the meantime," Pugh said.
Most damning, though, is the disappointment coming from T-Paw's close friends. Dennis O'Brien, a lawyer who hired Pawlenty out of the University of Minnesota Law School and worked with him for two decades, says Pawlenty is being handcuffed by the team of people he's paying to give him advice.

"His handlers, I think, have told him to cut out some of the dry humor because half the room is falling apart and the other half is pissed off because they don't get it," O'Brien said.
Maybe the release of a campaign ad bragging about shutting down the state government is the first step in reclaiming that lost mojo. If Pawlenty wants to win Iowa and have a shot at the Republican nomination, those who've fought with him and against him for years think it's time for him to take off the mask and drop the gloves.

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6 comments
Dave Stagner
Dave Stagner

Pawlenty didn't win two elections because he's so charismatic. He won because the DFL candidates were so awful. He barely beat Mike Hatch, a candidate so rotten that he was the ONLY Democrat to not win a vulnerable Republican's seat in 2006. In the same election, Klobuchar beat Kennedy 58%-38%, and Kennedy was no slouch. Pawlenty's problem isn't that he lost his mojo. His problem is that he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple, and that a couple of easy races, bootlicking devotion to the Tax Evader's League, and being a white male is all it takes to become the GOP nominee.

Well, maybe he'll be able to parley his upcoming pathetic 3% showing in Iowa into a cabinet seat deal down the road, at least.

Bianca
Bianca

I don't think he necessarily "lost his mojo" (he was always kind of bland to me) - I think more contenders entered the race and proved to people he doesn't compare to his opponents. Between Bachmann and Romney alone, he's a done deal. They have the spark necessary to launch a campaign that captivates millions, whereas T-Paw can only captivate others by posting dramatic campaign videos that we end up making fun of, anyways.

Mn Voter
Mn Voter

New advisors mean same old same old to most tea party folks (where the energy is at)Cigarette Fee is still a tax no matter how you package it - he lied about raising taxes5 billion deficit this year (but don't blame him) attitude (sounds like Obama)What does he stand for, what is his vision, where does he want to take the country?I think TPaw already has the mask off and has dropped the gloves...problem is TPaw? 

Zeroisanumber
Zeroisanumber

I'm firmly convinced that he's running for vice president at this point. The joke is that he'll spend millions of dollars and months of time to lose the VP slot to Bachmann.

Mark my words: Bachmann will be 2012's answer to Dan Quayle, a nitwit that the GOP candidate puts on his ticket to placate his nutso conservative base.

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

Bachmann will be at the top of the ticket.   Iowa is filled with crazy right wing nutjobs.  There are no moderates in the GOP anymore, Michelle has all the advantages.   She can pretty much do or say anything and her stupid supporters won't hold her accountable.   I"d say she's the one ready to get crushed by Obama.

Grimlock
Grimlock

You're forgetting the only humanitarian in the race, Ron Paul. He'll do some damage to those two idiots.

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