Pawlenty joins British paper’s list of influential conservatives

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Three more Minnesotans have landed on the Daily Telegraph’s lists of the 100 most influential conservatives and liberals in America, with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a likely candidate for president in 2012, ranked highest among them.

The Telegraph, a center-right national newspaper based in London, counted down the top 100 U.S. liberals and conservatives this week. Pawlenty came 10th on the list of most influential conservatives, one spot above fellow presidential aspirant Mitt Romney and two spots before former President George W. Bush.

Of Pawlenty, the Telegraph said: “The runner-up for the vice-presidential slot on the 2008 Republican ticket, he lost out to Sarah Palin then but is viewed by many GOP leaders as the better long-term bet.”  Perhaps, though, that wasn’t enough to vault him past Palin, who sits at number four.

Rep. Keith Ellison was tabbed as the number 56 most influential liberal in America, while Sen. Al Franken fell just a few slots behind at number 59. 

“Ellison caused a stir when he chose to hold a Koran rather than a Bible at his swearing in,” the Telegraph wrote. “Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode warned that this threatened ‘the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America’. In a successful compromise Ellison borrowed a Koran from the Library of Congress once owned by Thomas Jefferson. Obama mentioned the event in his June 2009 Cairo speech to Muslims as an example of the historic friendship between the US and Islam.”

Franken made the list partly as the 60th Democratic caucus member in the Senate and partly because, well, the whole Joe Lieberman thing.

“The former Saturday Night Live comedian gave the Democrats their 60 to 40 seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate when he just prevailed over Senator Norm Coleman after an extensive legal and recount process. A big-mouthed, Harvard-educated liberal, his excoriating humour – always aimed at the Right – gained him a cult following,” the British paper wrote.

“He has been low-profile in the Senate but delighted liberals when he abandoned Senate protocol and refused to allow wavering Democratic turncoat Joe Lieberman a few extra seconds to finish a speech.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann was the only other Minnesotan to be so honored – earlier this week she was tabbed as the 80th most influential conservative.

President Obama topped the influential liberals list, while former Vice President Dick Cheney sits at number one on the conservative list.

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