OK, Tim Pawlenty trivia buffs out there. See if you can answer these 10 questions about the outgoing governor. No Googling allowed.
Q. What is his middle name?
A. James — Timothy James Pawlenty.
So, when he’s President he will be TJP, which, if you say it 10 times fast, feels a lot harder to pronounce than FDR or JFK.
Q. Is Tim Pawlenty funny? (No wisecracks.)
A. The guv appeared on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart on June 10, 2010, and — exhibiting his Yiddish skills — admitted he doesn’t have a “big shtick.”
He said other stuff, too. Sure, he’s funny.
Q. On March 18, 1993, Pawlenty was one of only 11 GOP Minnesota House members to support what piece of legislation?
A. A gay rights protection provision to the state’s Human Rights Act. He sided with a handful of moderate Republicans.
Later, when he ran for governor in 2002, he told Minnesota Public Radio that his gay rights vote was one he would like to redo.
Last May, as governor, he vetoed a bill that would have given same-sex domestic partners the power to decide what to do with the remains of their deceased partners. He wrote in his veto letter: “Marriage — defined as between a man and woman — should remain elevated in our society at a special level, as it traditionally has been. I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage.”
Q. Who once said: “I think Tim has a heart. And I’ve been trying to find it for several years on the House floor!”
A. Another guy with a great sense of humor, DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina of Virginia.
Q. What’s the most significant political promise Tim Pawlenty has ever made?
A. It happened in 2002 when he ran for governor. It’s the “no-new-taxes” pledge of the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. Candidate Pawlenty took it, and, even though there is debate about how much the overall tax burden has actually risen in the state during his administration, he has held fast to the concept.
Q. 44.4 and 46.7 . . . what do those numbers mean for Pawlenty?
A. They are the percentages that candidate Tim Pawlenty won in his runs for governor, elected twice but never receiving a majority of votes from Minnesota’s electorate.
In 2002, his inaugural run, he mustered 44.4 percent in a three-way race against DFLer Roger Moe and Independence Party candidate Tim Penny. In 2006, he grabbed 46.7 percent in his three-way run against DFLer Mike Hatch and IP candidate Peter Hutchinson.
Q. What kind of work did Pawlenty’s father and mother do?
A. His father, Eugene, was a truck driver. His mother, Ginny, had five children and was a stay-at-home mom. She died when Gov. Pawlenty was 16.
Q. What was Tim Pawlenty’s career aspiration when he started college?
A. It’s been reported he wanted to be a dentist. But he wasn’t such a hot chemistry student. Dentistry’s loss was political science’s gain, but he’s been giving liberals toothaches ever since.
Q. On April 18, 2001, Pawlenty answered his cell phone to learn what from whom?
A. Vice President Dick Cheney called Pawlenty and told him not to run for the U.S. Senate against Paul Wellstone. The White House was backing Norm Coleman instead.
“For the good of the party, for the good of the effort [against Wellstone] I agreed not to pursue an exploratory campaign,” Pawlenty told reporters soon after getting Cheney’s fateful call.
Q. Who said, “Tim Pawlenty is regarded as one of the nation’s most innovative, energetic, reform-minded and accomplished governors”?
A. Pawlenty’s official biography on the state’s website.
8-10: If you got this many correct, you are hereby awarded a Ph.D. in TJP Studies.
4-7: You are an average Minnesotan, the best kind there is.
1-4: You guess well.
0: You are among the vast majority of Americans who still need to get to know presidential candidate Pawlenty.