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Gov. Pawlenty says he wishes he’d run for a third term

In hindsight, Gov. Tim Pawlenty wishes he’d taken a shot at a third term as governor.

Asked this week by the Duluth News Tribune‘s editorial board if he wished he had run for another term, the governor didn’t hesitate, the paper said:

“Yes,” he answered. “If I would have known then what I know now … given what I’ve been through and hoped to accomplish, but that [the DFL-controlled Legislature] blocked. But you can’t predict the future. And of course, I made my decision after the 2008 election when President Obama and the Democrats swept everything. I looked at that and [decided against] having to go over there and ram heads with [DFL Sen. Larry] Pogemiller and [DFL Rep. Margaret Anderson] Kelliher and their like. [There was a] high probability of that. Hindsight is 20/20.”

While in Duluth as part of a farewell tour of the state, Pawlenty also took credit for pointing the state in the right direction, the paper said.

“Minnesota has maintained its terrific quality of life compared to the rest of the nation and in many cases actually improved it over these last eight years. We have now pointed Minnesota in a direction that is much needed and long overdue as it relates to the fact that over these last decades — really, generations — Minnesota government has spent too much, too fast and for too long.

“Clearly, Minnesota needed to be pointed in a different direction that was more sustainable and responsible and more closely reflected the realities of today and really what are going to be the realities for the foreseeable future. We need a government that behaves more responsibly.”

As usual, the governor didn’t answer directly when asked about his presidential ambitions.

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/17/2010 - 11:45 am.

    Does he really regret not being Governor? Sure, he might have a compliant Republican-dominated Legislature. On the other hand, he would have to man up and come up with a real solution to the state’s fiscal fiasco. He broke it, now let’s see him try to fix it (don’t neo-cons call that the “Pottery Barn rule”?).

    Would he have been re-elected? The longest-serving Governor in the state’s history, Rudy Perpich, was not able to win election to a third full (albeit non-consecutive)term. Pawlenty could never claim the loyalty that Perpich had amongst a substantial portion of voters. A third-term Pawlenty would wear his welcome out very quickly. Assuming he was able to cobble together another plurality and win election, and assuming that the legislative elections would have panned out the way they did, any policy that resulted would have proven at best unpopular, at worst, disastrous. The GOP would have taken a big hit in 2012, and the remainder of his term would have been spent being cursed by Republican loyalists for his failure.

    His musings strike me as a form of sour grapes. His run for the presidency was never anything more than quixotic. It’s been a failure, and we still have a whole year to go before Iowa and New Hampshire. He doesn’t even have a high enough profile to be a laughing stock. Perhaps he think it would have been better to be Governor than turn into an answer to a future political trivia question.

  2. Submitted by Tim Walker on 12/17/2010 - 12:51 pm.

    T-Paw: “Minnesota has maintained its terrific quality of life compared to the rest of the nation and in many cases actually improved it over these last eight years.”

    What’s in the drinking water up there in Duluth, and can I please have some of it?

  3. Submitted by Roger Iverson on 12/18/2010 - 06:14 am.

    A third Pawlenty term? Yeah right. Pawlenty would have to actually deal with the huge deficit he engineered and then bugged out on. A third term with his Tea Party majorities in the legislature would plunge Minnesota into a new Dark Age. As it is, we are likely to achieve Third World status with the GOP in charge of the legislature.

  4. Submitted by Joel Gingery on 12/18/2010 - 11:55 am.

    Does it say anything about Minnesotans that we elected Mr. P and the rest of the country couldn’t care less?

  5. Submitted by Paul Landskroener on 12/20/2010 - 10:36 am.

    Pawlenty was never the choice of a majority of voters in the first place, and his “win” in 2006 was a squeaker. If he should get the Republican nod in 2012 for president, I don’t think he could carry his home state in a 2-candidate race.

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