Tim Pawlenty's 10 greatest misses

Categories: T-Paw
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Tim Pawlenty: Thanks for the memories.
Tim Pawlenty is not going to be president, and it's all his fault.

Over the weekend, T-Paw's campaign ended, as it started, with a whimper. Since he officially declared his candidacy in March, Pawlenty's campaign for president has been a roller coaster ride -- but some sort of strange, terrifying roller coaster that never goes up, starting at ground level and plunging at high speed deep into the darkness until it runs off the rails, leaving only a few survivors and one dead reputation.

City Pages took a look back at the campaign that wasn't, and counted down Pawlenty's biggest mistakes along the way.

No. 1. Running for president

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When Pawlenty announced he was running for the Republican nomination, many conservative voters had the same, pointed question: "Who?" Even though he was the first major Republican politician to officially announce his candidacy, Pawlenty's name recognition was horrendously low. In March, just after he'd announced he was running, a Gallup poll found that only 41 percent of Republican-leaning voters recognized Pawlenty's name. Even on Saturday, in the Ames Straw poll that officially killed his campaign, most Pawlenty voters just wrote "the white guy who's not a cranky old guy or a Mormon."

No. 2. Being from Minnesota

It seems like Minnesotans just aren't very good at this whole national campaign thing. In 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey lost an election to that lovable juggernaut, Richard Nixon. Then in 1984, former Vice President Walter Mondale got about 10 votes, total, losing to Ronald Reagan 525-13 in the Electoral College. These lessons seem to prove that Minnesotans should just stick to being vice president, but, for the moment, T-Paw says he's not interested.

No. 3. Not raising enough money

Pawlenty raised about $4.5 million last quarter, which doesn't sound so bad until you think about the $18.3 million Mitt Romney raised. After announcing she was running, Michele Bachmann pulled in $3.6 in presidential fundraising in about three weeks. And all of those numbers sound pathetic when compared to the $48 million Barack Obama banked last quarter.

No. 4 Spending all his money

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Pawlenty didn't have a whole lot to spend, and he blew through it pretty quickly. By last week, he wasn't running any more of his campaign ads on Iowa TV, a sure sign that he'd run out of cash. Pawlenty dropped big bills on fancy hotels, a sweet campaign bus, and an infamous $38 pig-out session at McDonald's. Worst of all, he paid a lot of people to advise him on how to raise and spend money. Their advice should've been, "Stop paying me."

No. 5 Ridiculous campaign ads

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Pawlenty rolled out the most audacious presidential ad campaign since Lyndon Johnson told America Barry Goldwater was going to drop a nuclear bomb on a little girl. In T-Paw's ads, cameras soared above the American plains, the United States won a lot of Olympic gold medals, and Pawlenty said dramatic things while too close to the camera. Now those ads are Pawlenty's to cherish, giving him the most awesome home movies in America.

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