Washington (CNN) – Outgoing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said this week that he regrets not seeking a third term in St. Paul, now that the state legislature is controlled by Republicans instead of the Democrat-Farmer-Labor party that fought much of his agenda.
"Yes," was the straightforward answer Pawlenty gave when asked by the Duluth News Tribune editorial board earlier this week whether he wished he had sought another term.
"If I would have known then what I know now," the Republican said, and "given what I've been through and hoped to accomplish, but that (the DFL-controlled legislature) blocked. But you can't predict the future.
"And of course, I made my decision after the 2008 election when President Obama and the Democrats swept everything," he continued, according to the paper. "I looked at that and (decided against) having to go over there and ram heads with (DFL Sen. Larry) Pogemiller and (DFL Rep. Margaret Anderson) Kelliher and their like. (There was a) high probability of that. Hindsight is 20/20."
Pawlenty declined to seek a third term as governor in July 2009, a move widely interpreted as the first step toward a White House run in 2012. Pawlenty has surrounded himself with a team of top political strategists and has made repeated trips to the key nominating states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
His answer is not the sort of thing one would expect to hear from a likely presidential candidate, since running for the most powerful job in the world requires projecting a healthy air of decisiveness and self-assurance.
The remark is something his potential rivals for the GOP nomination might remind him of next year as they jostle for position in what's likely to be a wide open field.
It should be noted, though, that Pawlenty appeared to be a reflective mood as he wrapped up a two-day farewell tour around the state, looking back on his two terms in interviews with various media outlets.
And, as the Duluth paper noted, Pawlenty all but admitted he's seeking the GOP nomination in an interview earlier in the week.
"If I don't run for president I'm going to open a margarita bar in south Florida and play Kenny Chesney music," Pawlenty told KAAL-TV in Rochester, Minnesota on Tuesday.
The Little Banjo Boy from Deliverence has his eyes on The White House!
Someone please tell this guy that you need charisma if you wnt to run for President.
Sounds like a quitter. Typical GOP govenor. Better start mixing those drinks now.
I am glad he didn't seek a third term. Now Minnesota can have a governor who cares more about the state and its people than about his own political ambitions for higher office.
Lol. Is the rethug party full of idiots? Lol
So he thinks he would have stayed on if he knew (as he thinks) it would have been easier for him to push his poltical ideaology thru as Governor? Another wimp ex-Repub Governor who wants to be President.
I don't know why he regrets not seeking a third term. I mean it's not like Palin quitting half-way through a term as governor of a state with less than a million people.
As a citizen of the state of Minnesota.... I for one do NOT regret your decision!! Now that you are gone – perhaps some positive steps will be taken on behalf of the state and all those who live here. You have been absolutely worthless for the past few years. You were so busy bending over so your Republican party could have their way with you – you forgot the people who you were hired to represent. I for one am very glad to see you go!
Yes well it seems that Minnesota is not feeling the same way you are, Mr. Pawlenty. I moved out of your state because its going down the toilet, fast.
Everything falling down under Paw's obvious abandonment of the state. He wants to be ruler again? HELL NO.
ha ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
There's no way he would've gotten re-elected.
As a Minnesotan, not seeking a third term is the best thing Pawlenty ever did for this state. No more stripping of the coffers and tanking of the budget. Little Timmy is also mighty delusional if he thinks the legislature would still have gone Republican if he was running again.