Tim Pawlenty is ‘running for president.’ He just doesn’t want to formally admit it yet
Running for president has become such an elaborate press operation that it's sometimes hard for even the candidates to keep up.
Just ask Tim Pawlenty, who sounded a verbal miscue during an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan Tuesday night about whether or not he's actually running for president.
"I'm running for president," Pawlenty told CNN. "I'm not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president so I'm focused on running for president."
The comments--a partial transcript of which was forwarded to reporters ahead of the actual broadcast of the interview--instantly made big news, given Pawlenty, technically, has filed only an "exploratory committee." It's a phrase that seems to imply the former Minnesota governor is still thinking about whether to mount a full-fledged run, even though it's fairly obvious he's very much in the 2012 race.
But Pawlenty's aides quickly tried to stamp down the story their boss was officially in the race, insisting that CNN had mischaracterized the ex-governor's comments. As evidence, they pointed to another segment in the interview in which he dialed back his initial claim.
"I've got an exploratory committee up and running, and we'll have a final or full announcement in the coming weeks here," Pawlenty added later. "It won't be too much longer, but everything is headed in that direction..."