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Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s reluctance to go toe-to-toe with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Monday, June 13, 2011 CNN-hosted GOP presidential debate at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., is consistent with his personality profile.

Tim Pawlenty’s Psychological Profile

Click image for larger view

Personal Electability Index (PEI) = 9

Scale:   1A  1B   2   3   4   5A  5B   6   7   8   9   0
Score:    5    3    6   6  10    2    1   12  0   0   4   4

Pawlenty: [Extraversion (scale 3) = 6] + [Narcissism (scale 2) = 6] + [Dominance (scale 1A) = 5] – [Introversion (scale 8) = 0] – [Conscientiousness (scale 6) = (12 – 4)] = 9


Topical report

Tim Pawlenty Beats Hasty New Hampshire Retreat

Tim Pawlenty answers a question during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on June 13. |AP Photo
Tim Pawlenty answers a question during the first New Hampshire Republican presidential debate on June 13, 2011. (Photo credit: AP via Politico)

By Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns, and Maggie Haberman Logo
June 14, 2011

GOFFSTOWN, N.H. — Tim Pawlenty’s puzzling decision at Monday’s debate to abandon a new line of attack on Mitt Romney’s health care record is prompting fresh doubts among members of his own party about his readiness to confront the GOP frontrunner.

One day after Pawlenty linked Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan with the federal health reform law as “Obamneycare” in a nationally televised interview, the former Minnesota governor retreated from the sharp critique at the first debate featuring Romney.

Pawlenty’s decision to back down — coming after his campaign promoted the original assault — was met with a mix of derision and bewilderment among veteran GOP strategists who are not committed to any of the candidates.

Few could recall another example of a candidate unveiling an attack in one high-profile forum, as Pawlenty did on “Fox News Sunday,” only to attempt to put the gun back in the holster in another such setting so soon afterward.

“Debates are competitions — they are alpha dog battles,” explained longtime GOP ad man Alex Castellanos. “To win one, you have to create what I call an ‘MOS,’ a moment of strength. Tim Pawlenty had a chance to get in the ring tonight with the heavyweight champion and create such a moment. He refused to enter the ring. It was like LeBron refusing to take the big shot [Sunday] night.”

“Pawlenty made an odd decision to back away from his health care attack on Romney which made him seem weak or at a minimum uncertain,” said Jim Dyke, a former top Republican National Committee official …

And Jason Miller, who worked on Rudy Giuliani’s 2008 campaign and is now a media consultant, said Pawlenty may have turned off the electorate he was hoping to impress.

“Republican primary voters are looking for a presidential candidate who’s going to take the fight directly to President Obama,” Miller said. …

Video: T-Paw backs off jab

The question here on the campus of Saint Anselm College from CNN moderator John King was straightforward: “Why ‘Obamneycare’?”

It also was completely predictable. By throwing his first serious punch at Romney on the eve of the debate, Pawlenty ensured that his health care attack would come up Monday night.

But when the question came, Pawlenty was caught off guard and offered a succession of halting answers.

First he tried to dodge, criticizing President Barack Obama’s approach to health care reform.

King pushed harder: “You don’t want to address why you called Gov. Romney’s, ‘Obamneycare’?”

Pawlenty started backtracking, arguing that he had been asked about “similarities” between the Romney and Obama health care plans. “I just cited President Obama’s own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint,” Pawlenty said.

King’s follow-up was incredulous: “If it was Obamneycare on ‘Fox News Sunday,’ why is it not Obamneycare standing here, with the governor right there?”

That’s when Pawlenty just seemed to give up, abandoning his line of attack and reiterating: “Using the term ‘Obamneycare’ was a reflection of the president’s comments.” …

But neutral Republicans in attendance here said after the two-hour forum that they were baffled.

“It was not an, “I paid for this microphone,’ take-charge kind of moment,” said former New Hampshire GOP Chair Fergus Cullen, referring to Ronald Reagan’s famous “I am paying for this microphone” incident during a 1980 New Hampshire GOP debate.

“Pawlenty clearly decided he wasn’t going to engage. … Having used the loaded term just yesterday, not wanting to follow through was unexpected.”

Castellanos was even tougher: “A moment missed. A moment of strength that became a moment of weakness.” …

Just as worrisome for Pawlenty, Monday’s debate marked the emergence of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as an articulate and unapologetic conservative standard bearer. Her continued rise could spell trouble for her fellow Minnesotan both at the Ames Straw Poll this Summer and at Iowa’s caucuses next winter. …

Yet every day that Romney is allowed to continue toward the primary unbruised by his GOP rivals is another day that he gets stronger as a front-runner. And throughout the 120 minutes here, he was able to deliver his economy-and-Obama message without having to duck any blows from his fellow candidates. …

Full story

Video: VandeHei on T-Paw miss


Related report

Less than half of GOP primary voters satisfied with 2012 field(Mark Murray, NBC News, June 15, 2011) — Despite a bit of a slow start, the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is off and running. … But with about eight months until the first GOP nominating contests, less than half of Republican primary voters — 45 percent — say they are satisfied with their current crop of presidential candidates, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. … Full story


Related reports on this site

Republican presidential hopefuls pose before the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 campaign in New Hampshire
Republican presidential hopefuls pose before the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 campaign (Photo credit: Shannon Stapleton / Reuters)

Take Michele Bachmann Seriously (June 11, 2011)

Bachmann-Pawlenty ‘Minnesota Twins’ Grudge Match (June 7, 2011)

Huckabee Exit Ups GOP ‘Nut’ Factor (May 15, 2011)

Bachmann Heads TP Spending Rally (April 5, 2011)

Tea Party Presidential Primary (March 3, 2011)

Dems Link Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann (Sept. 20, 2009)

Pawlenty Compared to Bachmann (Sept. 10, 2009)

Republican Leaders Cower (March 4, 2009)

Faces of GOP Schism Starting to Take Shape (Nov. 19, 2008)


Related Presidential Candidate Psychological Profiles

Mitt Romney Personality Profile (June 2, 2011)

Click on image for larger view

Michele Bachmann Personality Profile (June 13, 2011)

Provisional Personality Profile -- Michele Bachmann (May 2011)
Click image for larger view

Rick Santorum Personality Profile (April 26, 2012)

Click on image for larger view


6/17/2011 Update

Is Pawlenty Panicking?

Is Pawlenty panicking? … He’s back to criticizing Romney on health care, after taking a pass at the debate

By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg

First Read
June 17, 2011

Is Pawlenty panicking?

Tim Pawlenty had a rough debate Monday night when he refused to criticize Mitt Romney on health care — after telegraphing that he’d do so the day before. But just ask Barack Obama: Rough primary-season debates happen; everyone has a bad day. And fortunately for Pawlenty, the media world was already moving on to other stories (Weiner, Libya, other candidate stumbles).

So why is Pawlenty now reversing himself and attacking Romney? Is he panicking? Yesterday, he fired off this unprompted Tweet:

On seizing debate opportunity re: healthcare: Me 0, Mitt 1. On doing healthcare reform the right way as governor: Me 1, Mitt 0.

And then he said this to FOX’s Hannity last night, which the Pawlenty camp later circulated to reporters:

I should have been much more clear during the debate, Sean. I don’t think we can have a nominee that was involved in the development and construction of ObamaCare and then continues to defend it. And that was the question. I should’ve answered it directly.

Political schizophrenia

What is going on? Pawlenty takes a shot at Romney on FOX last Sunday. Then he refuses to deliver the same critique to Romney’s face on Monday. And three days later — after many decided to give him a pass and simply say “OK, let’s see what happens next time” — he’s taking more shots on FOX.

As we said after the debate, it appears that one of two things is happening. Either the candidate doesn’t agree with his advisers on strategy, or the campaign internally isn’t agreeing on strategy. Either way, that’s not a sign of a winning campaign. And all yesterday did was bring more attention to this issue.

Full report


Commentary: “First Read” neglects to mention a third possibility, namely, that in-your-face confrontation may be incompatible with Tim Pawlenty’s basic personality predisposition — as noted at the top of this blog post.


7/28/2011 Update

Tim Pawlenty Struggles to Step Out of Michele Bachmann’s Shadow

After months of playing nice Bachmann and fellow Minnesotan Tim Pawlenty have started criticizing each other, reflecting the importance of the next few weeks of campaigning leading to the Iowa Straw poll. (Photo credit: Charlie Neibergall / AP)

By Amy Gardner

July 27, 2011


SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn. — Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann are staying true to type in a spat between their presidential campaigns: He offers a cautious slap over her lack of executive experience, and she smacks back with dramatic comparisons between him and President Obama.

This is more or less how it has always been for the two Republican lawmakers from Minnesota, where Bachmann’s passion and conviction outshone Pawlenty’s more cautious, methodical ways from the moment she stormed the state legislature nearly a decade ago.

Then, as now, Pawlenty said he was conservative, yet Bachmann seemed to say it more loudly. He talked about his faith, and she talked about hers more. He said he was a true believer, but Bachmann was somehow more believable. …

That dynamic is playing out at a critical moment on the trail, where, despite years of preparation within national GOP circles, Pawlenty is struggling to take hold. Meanwhile, Bachmann in a month of campaigning has rocketed past all her competitors, save front-runner Mitt Romney.

Bachmann and Pawlenty’s trajectories are set to collide during next month’s Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, an early test of strength in a critical state. With Romney sitting out the event, the straw poll is largely turning into a question of which Minnesotan Iowans prefer. …

The tiff between Pawlenty and Bachmann began over the weekend, when Pawlenty — gently — criticized Bachmann.

“These are really serious times, and there hasn’t been somebody who went from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency, I think, in over 100 years, and there’s a reason for that,” Pawlenty told CNN’s Candy Crowley.

It wasn’t the first time he had softly swiped his opponent. But this time, Bachmann fired back.

“Governor Pawlenty said in 2006, ‘The era of small government is over. . . . The government has to be more proactive and more aggressive.’ ” Bachmann said in a rebuttal statement. “That’s the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment and an unconstitutional health-care plan.”

Pawlenty ramped up the criticism, noting Monday in Davenport, Iowa, that he and Bachmann “have fought the same fights. But she hasn’t won. I have.”

Bachmann’s team retorted in a statement: “There is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty’s past positions and Barack Obama’s positions on several critical issues facing Americans.”

Contrasting images

Bachmann, 55, ran for the legislature in 2000 largely to lead conservatives’ opposition to new Minnesota education standards. She advocated a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and led support of a taxpayer bill of rights to limit government growth.

As a lawmaker and then governor, Pawlenty, 50, supported the same initiatives. Many of the state’s conservative leaders consider him an ally.

But Bachmann, not Pawlenty, made a name for herself championing these issues. When she walked onto the state political stage in 2000 wearing jeans and a sweatshirt at a GOP convention after beating a 28-year incumbent, she shocked the political establishment. Since then, no one, not even her detractors, has doubted her authenticity. …

Bachmann was unafraid to take on Pawlenty directly, as she did during his first year as governor by challenging his proposal to spur economic growth by establishing tax-free zones. Much like her leadership style today, however, Bachmann didn’t do it by creating legislative coalitions or working within the system; she did it by giving fiery speeches to outside groups, including evangelical Christians and anti-tax advocates.

Pawlenty, in contrast, built his career by forging deals and relationships within the system. As the state House’s majority leader, he was among the few elected Republicans who urged calm among party members who were upset that Bachmann had defeated the GOP incumbent. He also took positions that have since evolved.

In the legislature, for instance, Pawlenty voted at least once to enact education standards called the Profile of Learning. Later, as governor, he took credit for helping repeal the standards, which he then called “a piece of junk.”

As a lawmaker, Pawlenty voted for a gay rights amendment and for carbon restrictions to combat climate change. As governor, he agreed with Democrats to increase a cigarette fee to balance Minnesota’s budget.

But Pawlenty also pushed through tort reform, abortion restrictions and legislation that eased the purchase of handguns. He won a face-off with public unions and bested Democrats in a state budget standoff. He also assembled backing from an impressive list of national Republican leaders.

Full story


Related: Lack of courage — The Pawlenty mirage


6/21/2012 Update

Tim Pawlenty’s Stock Soars in Romney-World

Mitt Romney, right (stands) with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty during a campaign stop at Cornwall Iron Furnace, on Saturday, June 16, 2012, in Cornwall, Pa. | AP Photo
Mitt Romney, right stands with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty during a campaign stop at Cornwall Iron Furnace, Cornwall, Pa., Saturday, June 16, 2012. (Photo credit: AP via Politico)

By Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei Logo
June 20, 2012


Tim Pawlenty has jumped to the top of the vice presidential shortlist of several Mitt  Romney advisers after emerging as the most effective — and well-liked — surrogate for the GOP nominee-to-be, according to several Republicans familiar with campaign deliberations.

The former Minnesota governor has impressed top Romney officials with his winning onstage presence at a grueling roster of Republican events throughout the country and with his low-maintenance personal style that has made him a favorite with the campaign’s tight-knit inner circle at the Boston headquarters.

Pawlenty is strong where Romney is weak — with the regular-guy, working-man connection with voters in casual settings. …

Several top Republicans said that as the hockey-playing son of a blue-collar worker, and a longtime champion of connecting with what he has called “Sam’s  Club Republicans,” Pawlenty would be comfortable campaigning among working-class  voters in a way that Romney never will be.

In addition, Pawlenty is an evangelical Christian but is low-key enough about his faith  that he doesn’t scare off secular voters. This could help Romney with religious  conservatives who may be skeptical of — or even hostile to — his Mormon faith.

“He’s great with conservatives but doesn’t scare off women,” a Romney campaign official said of Pawlenty.

Not only have Romney and Pawlenty developed an easy bond when they travel  together, but their wives — Ann Romney and Mary Pawlenty — have developed a  genuine friendship that has surprised some campaign insiders. …

And what do top officials at Romney headquarters love about Pawlenty?

“They respect people who are loyal and show up and work hard, and he has done both in spades,” the former Pawlenty official said. “From the perspective of  Boston, I think that really matters. On a personal level, folks really like him. And he’s an articulate, effective, economical messenger for the campaign.” …

Here are a few of the mounting clues that he could well be headed to being Romney’s ticket-mate:

— There is a universal view that Romney will not take a risk, or anything  approximating one. …

— Romney advisers think boring isn’t bad …

— Romney is also looking closely at personal chemistry. …

— Loyalty matters.

The one Republican who meets all of these litmus tests, and more, is Pawlenty, who could run with Romney as a pair of Washington outsiders. …

So the more time has passed, the more Romney insiders have become convinced  Pawlenty is a great fit with Mitt.

Full story


7/18/2012 Update

In Pawlenty, Romney Campaign May Find Down-to-Earth Appeal

Tim Pawlenty introduced Mitt and Ann Romney in Milford, N.H., in June 2012. Mr. Pawlenty has been active on the campaign. (Photo credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images via The New York Times)

By Jeff Zeleney

July 16, 2012


EAGAN, Minn. — It was four years ago this summer, when Tim Pawlenty ranked high on the list of John McCain’s potential running mates …

After a short-lived presidential bid of his own last year, Mr. Pawlenty is again being considered for the Republican ticket. His fate is in the hands of Mr. Romney, a rival-turned-friend, who is on the cusp of announcing his vice-presidential selection. Mr. Romney has reached a decision, his friends believe, and he may disclose it as soon as this week.

The country received only an abbreviated introduction to Mr. Pawlenty, 51, a former two-term governor of Minnesota, whose working-class roots, experience outside Washington and evangelical faith have formed the core of his appeal to a broad spectrum of Republicans.

While Mr. Romney has kept more distance from the rest of his primary challengers, he has embraced Mr. Pawlenty, seeking his advice about running against President Obama and sending him to Republican events on his behalf. They began forging a closer relationship last year on a visit to the Romney family’s lakeside home in New Hampshire, aides said, and during debates this year when Mr. Pawlenty often traveled with the Romney campaign after dropping out of the race himself.

He has emerged as one of the most energetic cheerleaders and forceful defenders of Mr. Romney, firing back against Republican skeptics and Democratic critics alike. …

The conservative National Review now describes Mr. Pawlenty as “Romney’s traveling salesman.” While other potential vice-presidential candidates like Senator Rob Portman of Ohio and Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana have day jobs that limit their availability, Mr. Pawlenty, who has no other full-time position, is the political equivalent of an empty nester, available to do whatever Mr. Romney asks. …

The vetting of possible vice-presidential candidates is approaching an end. It has been a deeply secretive process, but several Republicans close to the campaign believe Mr. Pawlenty and Mr. Portman stand out among those being considered.

In 2008, as Mr. McCain was narrowing in on a running mate, several aides recommended Mr. Pawlenty. Others pushed for a bolder choice, a candidate who would create more enthusiasm among Republican activists.

Four years later, being passed over for Sarah Palin may work in Mr. Pawlenty’s favor. “In a lot of ways, he’s the anti-Palin,” said Steve Schmidt, a strategist to Mr. McCain who expressed regret for her selection. “Here’s a guy who is prepared to be president on Day 1. In any normal year, he would have been the pick.”

But some of the same perceived shortcomings of Mr. Pawlenty still exist among his detractors, including the critique that he lacks a fiery presence and the ability to excite a crowd.

Associates of Mr. Romney say he believes Mr. Pawlenty has gotten a bad rap, and the comfort level between the men outweighs any concerns of a potential ticket being seen as dull. …

Full story


FROM THE ARCHIVES: One Year Ago — June 16, 2010

Extremism Rises in America


Why ‘The Rise of the New Right’ Matters (June 15, 2010) — Chris Matthews discusses “Rise of the New Right.” (01:46)

One year ago today, I chronicled the rise of right-wing extremism in America following the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States in November 2008, reporting that the growing fear among some citizens of losing their rights and freedoms had created a political backlash toward the U.S. government that was manifesting itself in violent rhetoric and anti-government groups who want to “take their country back.”


FROM THE ARCHIVES: Two Years Ago — June 16, 2009

North Korea Nuclear Threat

July missile test expected (NBC Today, June 19, 2009) — The U.S. is deploying anti-missile defenses around Hawaii amid reports that North Korea may test fire as many as two missiles in the direction of Hawaii next month. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie discusses the White House reaction. (01:07)

Two years ago today, on June 16, 2009, I reported that U.S. officials were downplaying any imminent threat to the United States of a North Korean missile strike or confrontation between the two countries at sea.

9 Responses to “Tim Pawlenty’s Personality Profile Respectful, Submissive”
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