Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – His poll numbers have remained low despite a vigorous campaign. And he admits he must "show some progress" at a looming, high-stakes contest.
But Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Friday said any notion that he will soon quit the race is "preposterous."
The former Minnesota governor made the comments in an exclusive interview with CNN Anchor and Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that will air Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
On August 13, Iowa's Ames Straw Poll will test Pawlenty's popularity along with that of other GOP candidates.
"Does the Ames Straw Poll matter to you in terms of whether your intent to stay in through the caucuses and beyond?" Crowley asked Pawlenty.
"Well we're in this race to win," Pawlenty responded. "We're going to win the Iowa caucuses."
The candidate continued: "I suppose if we came in dead last or something in the straw poll that may have a bearing. But we're not going to do that. We're already showing good progress. And our goal is to move, as I said earlier, from towards the back of the pack towards the front of the pack."
"And this idea that we are going to drop out after the Ames straw poll is preposterous," Pawlenty said.
Would it be difficult, politically, Crowley asked.
"Well, I don't see those stories about Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich or Herman Cain or the others," Pawlenty said.
"You know, obviously Mitt Romney he's been the front-runner, the established front-runner. We acknowledge that. But he was the front-runner last time. And there's plenty of time and plenty of room for others to catch him and we will."
– Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN
Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.
He left Minnesota in bankruptcy, and now he want to run our country. One Republican has already bankrupt the USA, BUSH.
Pawlenty has his seat in the Republican clown car. Why should he get out anymore than any of the others?
go home Tim and take Rick and Newt with you.
"Well we're in this race to win” No
Well I am in this race to win VP ticket
Uh, yeah you will be.
Tim Pawlenty / Louie Gohmert 2012
The Bold and the Beautiful
What a sad case of (crazy) he is...
The truth is – – he lacks the RIGHT STUFF. The truth hurts. Sorry Tim.
[Pawlenty: I'm not dropping out anytime soon]
So you better get used to it you other buffoons
"You know, obviously Mitt Romney he's been the front-runner…”
And I just might pull through and cause a real stunner!!
POORlenty – come on – your numbers are so low
Slipping out the back door is where you really need to go
And all the other runners should also concede to the fact
It will be Obama-2012 so take a “chill pill and RELAX”
Pawlenty: I'm not dropping out anytime soon
Yeah, okay........but you SHOULD!!!!!!!!!!!
Someone should increase his Zyprexa....the delusions are getting out of control.
Tim, you should do yourself and fellow republicans a service by dropping out now. Save time and money 'cause YOU DON'T LOOK SO GOOD, Man.
Pawlenty will not win the nomination. Palin is vastly superior to Pawlenty in every single way. At the end of the day we will have 8 years of President Palin. We will become the Palination.
Sorry, Governer. I give you credit for making opportunities for yourself. (Obamneycare) But, you fell victim to what appears to be a "behind closed doors" agreement amongst the GOP candidates not to beat one another up with ammunition that can be turned against the nominee during the general election.
Tim, you made the choice to be a team player, not the leader. See ya'.
I guess campaign debt doesn't matter. Seriously, you're polling behind Sarah Palin, and she has yet to announced . Plus I've seen toast with more appeal than you. Please stop wasting other people's money.
Tim Pawlenty, you do not have to drop out of the race. The race has dropped you out.
It appears a lot of Republican candidate is standing on a freshly skin pine log over a creep on a rain swept night. The question who can come out the pack without scratch?
Another republicon closing his eyes to reality, big deal.
Pawlenty has been dropped on the head so many times until he can't feel it.
Tim please, don't drop out. Your so funny. Your a wimp, and you backtrack faster than anyone, so if you drop out we won't have anybody who is a comedy genius., you won't be the nominee and you won't have a job after this is all over, so maybe you can work with Jon Stewart, or Steven Cobar, but just stay funny.
You might as well quit, you don't stand a chance in he!!
Good! We want to see you get trounced!
He is not winning any time soon either.
As long as he can raise a whopping $.5M , he's in!