"I think if people get to know me better, it's just not true," the second-term Republican said in a phone interview with RealClearPolitics between meetings in St. Paul. "But the other response I have is: compared to who? There may be some more people who are dramatically more entertaining, but probably aren't getting elected. And there are some people who are, you know, serious candidates. I would say, which one of those is a barrel of laughs or somehow in a different league as far as excitement?"
Pawlenty does, in fact, have a sense of humor. It sometimes backfires. In May of 2008, he raved in a radio interview about how his wife loves fishing, then added, "Now, if I can only get her to have sex with me." As David Letterman would say, "eeeeeyyyyyyy."
Other news did come out of the RealClearPolitics interview. As Dave Weigel discusses at his new Slate blog, Pawlenty came out swinging at the Ground Zero mosque; he also listed reasons why Iowa is a lot like Minnesota, which, as Conroy notes, figures as a probable refrain between now and 2012.
Pawlenty has been quietly competing with the heavy presidential favorites of the GOP: his political group, the FreedomFirst PAC, is actively raising money and donating it to candidates, and he's set up state-level PACs in Iowa and New Hampshire. And he's traveled to key primary states as routinely as anyone in the past year. It's fitting that Pawlenty says his image will improve as people get to know him better: his biggest obstacle, in a contest against the likes of Romney, Palin, and perhaps Newt Gingrich, is name recognition.
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