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OMG! Tim Pawlenty is TOTALLY the New Mitch Daniels!

Well no, not really. But after Mitch Daniels ripped my still beating heart out (and only hours after winning the NYSYR 2011 Straw Poll), I find myself in search of a new Presidential candidate to get behind. The day my search starts…Tim Pawlenty OFFICIALLY declares himself as a candidate.

I’ve always had mixed feeling aboot T-Paw. I like a lot of what he says, and I know people who have met him one on one and came away extremely impressed, even calling him the smartest guy in the room. On the other hand, I’ve seen a couple of speeches that bored the hell out of me, and his recently string of MICHAEL BAY…BOOM web videos were just silly.

There were two things over the past two days that caught my attention…

The first was his new video, which was a lot more stripped down and less of the bombastic Jerry Bruckheimer produced ones he was putting out. He also talked aboot it being time for honest talk and tough choices. Now, whether or not those were poll tested phrases from consultants, we’ll say. But it is good to hear.

The second thing was that, he launched his campaign in Iowa…a state he needs to win…and said we need to cut ethanol subsidies. In Iowa. Cutting ethanol subsidies. I know right? He even said the same in a recent interview with Ed Morrissey

I asked Pawlenty whether Iowans are ready for that much truth, and he believes they are. “We can’t fix this [the fiscal crisis] if we take the position that we’re only going to cut someone else’s stuff,” Pawlenty says. “We’re going to look the people of Iowa in the eye and talk about the need to gradually reduce over time ethanol subsidies. We’re going to go down to Florida and talk about the need to fix Social Security to seniors,” he explained, not by changing it for current recipients but by making changes to the retirement age “for the next generation.” Pawlenty says that afterwards, he’ll go to Wall Street and tell them that the era of bailouts are over.

T-Paw ’12? I’m still not making any commitments before the Ames Straw Poll in August. I don’t think I c an have my heart broken like that again.

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