Tim Pawlenty is doing lots of things right in the race for the Republican presidential endorsement, but he better get tough if he wants to stay in the running.
So says Juan Williams of Fox News:
To know Gov. Pawlenty is to like him.
He is smart, has an engaging wife and they are both the absolute personification of “Minnesota Nice” — mild mannered, affable and comfortable in their own skin.
Throughout this campaign, he has impressed me as one of the few GOP candidates who I can imagine as president of the United States. He comports himself with the maturity befitting a person seeking the presidency of the United States. He is also highly qualified having served ten years as a state representative and eight years as governor.
As much as I like him, the political analyst in me cannot overlook the fact that his candidacy is in imminent danger of collapse within the next month. He is trailing Romney and Bachmann in national polls. And in Iowa, where Romney is taking a pass, Pawlenty is trailing Bachmann.
Money-raising and polling numbers are both a problem:
Any way you look at the campaign so far, the inescapable point is that Pawlenty is losing badly. Whether it is a poll of Republican voters or tally of the money being given to Republican candidates Pawlenty is coming up short.
Pawlenty is failing despite having done everything that a serious presidential candidate is supposed to do.
He recruited top GOP political talent to his campaign and built a solid campaign structure. He has spent a great deal of time campaigning in the early states and has stayed on message by telling voters of his accomplishments as governor. However, Pawlenty has not been able to excite Tea Party voters. He comes across as bland. Even when he had the chance to impress establishment Republicans in debate against Romney he did not perform.
He needs to display a killer instinct, Williams says:
People both applaud and joke about Pawlenty being Mr. Nice Guy. But at some point, his desire and toughness becomes a threshold question. If he is not willing to take on Mitt Romney in a primary campaign, how can Republicans expect him to take on Obama in a general election? Republican voters are looking for a candidate with a killer instinct.
Heading into the debate and the Ames straw poll, Pawlenty must demonstrate that he is not just Minnesota Nice but also “Tough.”
It’s time for the man from the Gopher state to show some bite or he will soon be out of the race.