Brian McClung is leaving Governor Tim Pawlenty’s side after six years as press secretary. McClung is forming a public relations company and will direct MN Forward an independent expenditure fund “supported by Minnesota’s jobs providers.” Pawlenty said McClung was more than the public voice of his office “He’s been one of my closest advisors during both terms and I greatly value his insights, loyalty and expertise.” Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) issued a statement saying McClung is taking advantage of a U.S. Supreme Court decision “This is a new infusion of corporate campaign cash, but it will be spent to protect the same misguided priorities.”
Six years is long time for a press secretary to survive in the intense modern world of politics and media. Most reporters have had their ups and downs with McClung, which is true for any governor’s press secretary, but he generally maintained good humor with us. One of my favorite Almanac clips with him was a couple of years ago when reporters were harassing Pawlenty and McClung about the governor’s schedule (something we’re still doing by the way as the gov runs for pres). At a press conference, McClung announces there’s only a couple of minutes left so it’s the last question. Pawlenty often shrugs off such suggestions from McClung and takes lots of questions. It’s something that has helped the Republican governor maintain a good relationship with the Capitol Press Corps. In this clip McClung says “We don’t have time.” But Pawlenty answers “We got time.” McClung responds “No, we don’t.” Guess who wins.