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After inauguration appearance, Pawlenty off on book tour

With his last official appearance as governor concluded — today’s inauguration of his successor, Mark Dayton — former Gov.

With his last official appearance as governor concluded — today’s inauguration of his successor, Mark Dayton — former Gov. Tim Pawlenty can start packing his bags in preparation for a lengthy tour to promote his book, “Courage to Stand.”

The book comes out Jan. 11, and the book signing/speaking tour starts Jan. 13 in Washington D.C.

Other stops include: Tampa, Fla.; Houston and Dallas; Manchester and Bedford, N.H.; Cincinnati, and Ankeny and West Des Moines, Iowa.

Interspersed are Minnesota signings in Woodbury, Jan. 18, and Burnsville and St. Cloud, Jan. 27.

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Even with those stops in early presidential states New Hampshire and Iowa, Pawlenty says it’s all about books, not nominations.

MPR today quotes Pawlenty (and CNN picks it up, too) dismissing talk of the book tour being the presidential kick-off.

“I know everybody’s trying to say that the book tour is about politics, but I think of the 30 or more days that I will be promoting the book across the country, I think only two days are in New Hampshire or Iowa,” he said. The story notes that it’s two days each, in Iowa and New Hampshire.

But the story gets Washington University political scientist Steven Smith to say that the tour is not about books.

“You know the book isn’t really the focus. The book is an excuse for being somewhere,” he said.

That would be media coverage. Pawlenty has been conducting an “invisible campaign” with Republican insiders around the country that needs to shift to a more overt campaign with voters.

Smith said Pawlenty needs to start breaking out of the low single digits in GOP presidential preference polls, especially in the next six months.