The Pawlenty bid

Washington Times:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty acted every bit the part of a GOP presidential candidate Monday during a visit to Washington, outlining his views on the war in Afghanistan, health care, the economy and the state of the Republican Party.

The Obama administration "needs to do a better job of explaining why" we need to be in Afghanistan, said Mr. Pawlenty, just off a plane from a Middle East trip that included a visit with Gen. David Petraeus and wounded soldiers from his home state.

Mr. Pawlenty, widely seen as a likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said the situation in Afghanistan is improving and that the administration's original deadline to begin troop withdrawals in July 2011 is too inflexible and will only hurt U.S. efforts.

"You cannot have an arbitrary deadline" because Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Pakistani and Taliban leaders "will start to hedge their bets about the future," he said.

Mr. Pawlenty also called for more troops in Afghanistan during the hourlong discussion with members of the Washington press corps organized by the Christian Science Monitor.

He acknowledged the administration's economic recovery plan had helped keep the country from going into a full depression, but called its implementation "largely ineffective" and that it should have focused even more heavily on cutting taxes.

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I think Pawlenty would be OK, but he seems charisma challenged. His position on the issues seem to be mainstream Republican. He has shown some skill in dealing with Democrats. I mean that in the sense that he has handled them more than been handled by them. Whether he can attract enough voters to be a factor is the big question.

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