Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty explained his decision not to run for reelection in 2010--which has been taken as a sign that he's interested in the presidency--today at a press conference with reporters in Minnesota and national media attending via conference call.
"When it comes to how long someone should stay in an elected position, a little less is better than too much," Pawlenty said, adding that the governorship should not be a permanent position.
"I want to give the folks who are running ample time to plan," Pawlenty said.
News that Pawlenty won't run has widely been taken as a sign that he is considering a 2012 bid for the presidency. But he said he doesn't have any future plans, as of yet.
"I don't have future plans--I'm just going to focus on being governor, and we'll see what happens next," Pawlenty said.
"I don't know what my plans are...I don't know what the future holds for me," he said.
Pawlenty said he does plan to remain active in the party--and that's something people will look at to weigh the chances of a Pawlenty 2012 presidential run. Active fundraising on behalf of candidates and state parties in primary states is generally taken as a sign of interest in the presidency. John Ensign, for instance, recently sparked discussion with a swing through Iowa; Mitt Romney's swing through Virginia (a less important primary state) similarly drew headlines.
Pawlenty didn't give any clues as to any travel plans, but he indicated he wants to be an audible voice in the GOP as it finds its way forward.
"As much as I can lend voice and ideas, I'll try to do that," Pawlenty said. "I think I can contribute that."
"I think we need new ideas and new faces in the party," Pawlenty said.
Pressed again on his future, Pawlenty said: "Well, there's an opening for the Minnesota Wild coaching job. I'm a little old to play."