'I'll run for president or open a margarita bar' becomes the Pawlenty mantra
January 14th, 2011
12:56 PM ET
11 years ago

'I'll run for president or open a margarita bar' becomes the Pawlenty mantra

Coral Gables, Florida (CNN) – For one potential presidential candidate, it's a tempting choice: should he try to become the most powerful leader of the free world? Or should he just open a bar, instead?

That's what Republican Tim Pawlenty has repeatedly said now about his considerations of a presidential bid – albeit the former Minnesota governor says it jokingly. Call it a talking point - with salt.

CNN spoke to Pawlenty before he addressed a gathering of national Republicans attending a conference to court Hispanic voters. The two-day Hispanic Leadership Network Conference is being held in Coral Gables, Florida.

Asked how close he is to making a decision, Pawlenty continues his refrain.

"Well, it's a tough choice. Because if I don't run for president – then I'm going to open a margarita bar down here in South Florida and play some Kenny Chesney music, get a flowered shirt," Pawlenty said.

Jokes aside though, Pawlenty publicly says he is seriously considering a presidential bid. He recently told journalists that he will make a decision in the coming months.

Pawlenty is only one of two Republicans whose names are tossed around in the presidential guessing games to attend the Hispanic outreach event. The other is Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida.

On why he is participating in the event, and its importance to Republicans, Pawlenty said, "Well we want to make sure that as a party – and as a conservative movement, a center-right movement – that we're reaching out to people who are not yet on our team. And you've got to do that by showing up."

Pawlenty continued: "I would say the Republican Party needs to do a better job of reaching out to the Latino community and presenting our case in a more effective way. Not just by flapping our jaw, but also showing ideas that actually work."

Filed under: 2012 • Hispanic Leadership Network • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Fed Up

    I would think more of him as a bar owner than a Presdient. Of course, I like used car dealers better than any politician. Used car dealers are more honest!

    January 14, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. jim

    "should he try to become the most powerful leader of the free world? Or should he just open a bar, instead?"

    In terms of republicans – what's the difference??

    January 14, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    Wake me when it's over.

    BTW, where's the story about GOP/Teatard majority school board in NC trying to get rid of school integration? Go ahead...tell us again that the GOP and Teatards aren't ultimately motivated and driven by deep-seeded bigotry and the infuriated fear it caused when a black man became president...go ahead, we could use the laugh. And you thought they meant "take our country back" from the Dems. HA! More foolish you.

    January 14, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Larry - Hazleton, Pa

    Since you asked I think you should open the bar.

    January 14, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    I think he should run and so should Sarah, Huck, Mitt, Haley, Tancredo, Pence, Thune, Bachmann (especially Bachmann), Daniels and now that Steele is on his way out as RNC Chairman he should try his hand on a larger scale. Heck, Jeb should run too. Get all the wack jobs to stir the pot up real good.

    January 14, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I think Pawlenty should run a Margarita Bar in Florida. We have so few.

    January 14, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Jacob

    open the margarita bar! you owe it to the American people!

    January 14, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. vic nashville tn

    Tim Pawlenty ,Mitt Romeny 2012 primery is difficult for them because they are not in the FOX pay roll

    January 14, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. ramtruck2500

    Geee did'nt see that one coming by this dummy. Stick to the bar and not as a speaking point but for real. You are a blight on the whole of the upper Midwest even though you only had one bridge collapse WHat a jerk!

    January 14, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. darla

    HE'S kidding right? He can't even answer a simple question from a TV entertainer without looking like an idiot. How will he fair with the worlds best and most intelligent press. Oh boy The tea party and thOSE people on the right should get one thing straight: HOMER SIMPSON IS NOT A ILLEGIBLE FOR A THOUSAND YEARS TO BE ANY COUNTRY'S PRESIDENT. AND ESPECIALLY NOT IN A COUNTRY WHERE THEY CLAIM TO BE SUPERPOWER ONE. THE WORLD IS NOT THE SIMPSON SHOW, WORLD LEADERS ARE NOT CHARACTERS FROM THAT SHOW. ELECTING A RIGHT WING BAFOON AS ITS REPRESENTATIVE IS LIKE HANDING THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN A SILVER PLATTER TO ITS ENEMY.

    January 14, 2011 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Tulsa

    Really, so running for the highest office in the land is a joke?
    Isn't this the same guy who cut spending on fixing infrastructure in his state? Then came the bridge collapse. Yes, It is "cause and effect".
    I for one do not consider him to have the good of the PEOPLE in mind, therefoe, would not vote for him.
    Republicans need to show someone who can rise to the level of discourse that our President has shown. The Majority party in the House could raise the level of civility and fairness in debate. This does not mean EXEMPTING Republican pet projects from scrutiny, rejecting the CBO's estimates or using inflamatory rhetoric.
    Yes, I am a Democrat. However, I do not think that in the last Congress Democratic leadership made an attempt to reach across the partisan divide. It didn't help that Republicans refused to join when they were asked, but the same petty rule manipulation went on then too. Niether side is without blame.
    Just buck up and do the right thing. Our Country needs you ALL. Act like adults who care about the Country and it's People.

    January 14, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  12. Eric

    I'll bet even money for any amount today that he ends up as a lobbyist. Takers?

    January 14, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Margie

    ANYTHING to get him out of our state of Minnesota. When he opens the bar, will he ask Bachmann to be his bartender. Hope Hope Hope.

    January 14, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. GI Joe

    Go for the bar – but make sure the roof doesn't collapse like the bridge in MN did.

    I'd buy a drink from you, but I'd NEVER VOTE FOR YOU.

    January 14, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, I think that he would have better luck running a bar. We haven't heard enough about him more than he was governor of MN (and didn't quit part way through the term!).

    January 14, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  16. S. In California

    Today is Friday, January 14, 2011 and the republicans STILL haven't found an answer to Obama.

    Have a good weekend folks.

    January 14, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. MAC

    Pawlenty is an excellent Presidential prospect and I am glad that he is courting the Hispanic Community. My grandaughter is Hispanic. What the Hispanic Groups need to learn is that the anti-illegal immigration stance is not racist. I and many others do not care where you came from, if you are not here legally then you do not belong here and should go home and come abck the right way. Anyone who disreguards our laws should not be rewarded with citizenship. If you are here on a green card and have a DUI or drug bust, you should be sent back home. That is the proper stance. Inforce the law!!!!

    January 14, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  18. larry

    he would have better success with the margarita bar.

    January 14, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  19. Mercfan

    Well all that's left to say is, "A ROUND OF DRINKS FOR THE HOUSE"

    January 14, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Pawlenty said, "Well we want to make sure that as a party – and as a conservative movement, a center-right movement – that we're reaching out to people who are not yet on our team. And you've got to do that by showing up."
    Don't be fooled. Pawlenty ran his governorship candidacy as a moderate, yet was anything BUT moderate. He's conservative through and through. Many of us in Minnesota are having as much a difficulty understanding WHAT he is running for - let alone WHY– as Pawlenty himself seems to be having. His continual praise of Palin is becoming embarrassing. Either he wants HER to be President, or HE wants to be President; he seems unable to commit one way or another as to whether it is HIS or HER candidacy he favors most. This unwillingness to make up his mind doesn't flatter his leadership skills. Quite the contrary, actually.

    January 14, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Carol

    I'll take one on the rocks, hold the salt.

    January 14, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. civility is cool

    I vote for the bar, TimPaw. Maybe you can do that more successfully than you did governor of MN and CERTAINLY more successfully than you could do POTUS!

    January 14, 2011 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  23. Chumlee

    What a total idiot. You only have to look at this absentee-governor of the State of Minnesota to confirm this as truth.

    Pawlenty destroyed the economy of the State of Minnesota, made fun of the minimal deficit left by former Governor
    Ventura, and leaves Minnesota with a $6.+ billion deficit – a state with fewer than six million residents.

    Pawlenty won the second term because of votes taken away from the Democratic candidate due to an independent
    candidate who had no chance of winning. Pawlenty would have been a one termer without the independent.

    Pawlenty is a small town, small mind, wing nut – he is on par with the likes of failin Palin!

    January 14, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. a health economist

    If he opens a bar I'd recommend he not do so in Minnesota. That last Governor of ours introduced all sorts of fees that he may have to pay through the nose for. 🙂

    January 14, 2011 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |