April 12th, 2011
07:08 PM ET
9 years ago

Pawlenty: ‘I’m running for president’

(CNN) - Former Republican Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday he's focused on running for the White House.

"I'm running for president," Pawlenty said in an interview Tuesday on "Piers Morgan Tonight.” "I'm not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president. I'm focused on running for president."

Pawlenty was responding to a hypothetical question if he would serve as Donald Trump’s vice president if Trump received the GOP nomination in 2012.

Pawlenty, who announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee last month, told Morgan moments later that he will make a formal presidential announcement "in the coming weeks."

"I've got an exploratory committee up and running and we'll have a final or full announcement in the coming weeks here, it won't be too much longer, but everything is headed in that direction," Pawlenty said.

And his campaign said the “I’m running for president” comment was not an official announcement.

"As the governor has said many times, he is not running to be anybody's vice president," Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant told CNN. "He will have a formal announcement about running for president later this spring."

Transcript of the Q & A:

Morgan: There was a poll out only today, a CNN poll which probably made quite the disturbing reading for you. Did you ever imagine in your wildest nightmares that you'd see a poll of potential Republican candidates which had you at 2 percent and Donald Trump at 19 percent?

Pawlenty: Well for me, I'm just getting known Piers. So our trajectory is kind of a tortoise and hare strategy and as we get better known particularly in the early states I think you'll see those numbers change for me. But as to Donald Trump, the Donald I think he's funny, I think he's exciting. He's obviously very successful. I think he brings a lot to the debate so I welcome him to it. If hair is going to be a factor in this race, Piers then I'm going to grow my mullet back out. I had a mullet when I played hockey in high school …

Morgan: In a hypothetical scenario governor, if someone like Donald Trump was to emerge as the Republican nominee and asked you to be vice president, would you accept that honor?

Pawlenty: I'm running for president. I'm not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president so I'm focused on running for president. And as to Donald Trump, I don't even know if he's going to run, but like I said, I hope he does in one sense. I think he's funny, he brings a lot to the debate, but I just hope that the country will take the full measure of all the candidates and make an informed decision. I believe they will.

Morgan: And governor, unless I was mistaken you just said you were running for president. Can we take that as a formal announcement?

Pawlenty: Well I've got an exploratory committee up and running and we'll have a final or full announcement in the coming weeks here, it won't be too much longer, but everything is headed in that direction Piers.

Filed under: 2012 • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. GoDestroy

    Hope it is for some country in the Middle East...

    April 12, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Former Republican, now an Independent

    If elected, Pawlenty will be on vacation more often than the record set by George W. Bush. The people of Minnesota couldn't even keep him on the job as governor. Another lousy candidate being put forth by the current day neo-cons, who are destroying the republican party.

    April 12, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. Stephen in Bedford, TX

    Although he's probably smarter than that, I hate to say it, bush league bimbo congresswoman from his state, he's just not presidential. I just hope he doesn't growl every time he wants to sound tough. That was so stupid.

    April 12, 2011 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  4. Minnesotan

    wahahahahahahah!! He ran Minnesota into the ground, and he can do the same for the WHOLE country!

    April 12, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  5. The Greedy Old Parasite care nothing for average Americans!

    Cram another one into the clown car! The GOBP circus is coming to town.

    April 12, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  6. Eric P

    He's running for President...and will be out of the race before it even really gets going. Is he kidding? LOL He was one of the worst governors Minnesota has ever had. Done.

    April 12, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. Voice of Reason

    Well, DUH. And in other news: the sun is hot. And water is wet.

    This guy has been wearing a path between Iowa and New Hampshire for the better part of a year (pandering to the early-primary states, anyone?). We all knew he was running a long time ago. Did anyone think that this guy was hanging around in hayseed cafes in Iowa wearing flannel and 'John Deere' hats because he LIKES the people there? Do you really think we are that dense?

    The only question now is how long till Bachmann jumps out there and tries to round out the 'Wacko' delegation from Minnesota.

    April 12, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  8. beevee

    Like all the other presidential aspirants, Mr. Pawlenty is thinking that he can defeat president Obama. I think he better wait until 2016 to have any chance at all.

    April 12, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  9. andres

    Pawlenty is not fit to be president. He was manipulated by an ambitious guard member into wrongfully getting rid of the then AG of the guard. A shameful and cowardly act on his part. And one he has yet to apoligise for. If he can be manipulated by a hack imagine how the experts will manipulate him.

    April 12, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  10. Jake

    so what!? you couldn't operate Minnesota! and they haven't forgotten!

    April 12, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Minnesota. The state that brought us Humphrey and Mondale now brings you Bachmann and Pawlenty. Wow

    April 12, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  12. Nancy

    Thanks for the warning!

    April 12, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  13. runner305

    Although I give him credit for saying he's going to run for President, this is ultimately no big deal. Not at all. The RNC has NO strong candidates or potential ones, for that matter.

    April 12, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. Name demalldeway

    Republican should take the back seat of the bus so that Democratics can take us to economic recovery and prosperity.

    April 12, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. Republican Robber Baron

    Don't bother Tim. You don't have anything to offer except the same broken Republican establishment that plunged that nation off a cliff and started a bogus war for Dick Cheney's Corporate Welfare. The last 10 years saw thousands of factories shut down and get replaced in Commie China or 3rd World Sweatshops. Also 82% increase in Defense Spending for the sake of Defense Spending...with no justification. We don't need to spend 42% of the entire world's spending on Defense...out of control Republicans.

    April 12, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  16. Michael B

    Seems to me like he's the first in because he can be the "first out" meaning with him in the race, now others will pop up, and he's sacrificing himself for the party.

    April 12, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  17. John

    I wanted to call him Romney Lite, but since Romney himself is Romney Lite, Pawlenty has to be Romney Extra-Lite.

    April 12, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. David M

    President of what? The local PTA?? I can see it now, Pawlenty and Palin. Sounds like a crooked law firm.

    April 12, 2011 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  19. CA

    There is plenty of money to be made by being a Presidential candidate. He will never win. Why not go after the book and tour money?

    April 12, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. Tubby the Tuba TEXAS

    What is this a Pawlenty of advertising for a weird guy. The whole policticker about a Minn. Gov. becoming President. Is Minn. as large as Houston? CNN is this unbiased reporting? It is embarassing.

    April 12, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  21. greyhackles

    Anyone else coming to the conclusion that pretending to run for President must be a lucrative career move?

    April 12, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. Frustrated Independent Voter !

    Pawlenty this is not news to anyone but you Sir. ! Secondly who cares ? He is just not Presidential , he has the charisma of a church mouse ! I can't listen to anything he say's for more than 2 minutes without getting sleepy and turning off the television ! Timmy you should save your money and pursue thing's that you actually have a shot at ! BTW just about everyone from your state that comment's on you say's that you did a terrible job in Minnesota ! If you can't handle one state , how can you possibly handle an entire country !

    April 12, 2011 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  23. they call me "tater salad"

    I'm shocked..........Shocked i tell you!!!!!

    April 12, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    “I’m running for president,” Pawlenty said

    That certainly sounds like an "official" announcement to me!

    Not off to the best start if you ask me, so perhaps YOU should get with your campaign aides and then get back to us!

    April 12, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. skponggol

    What a wimp !

    April 12, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
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