Pawlenty: Official announcement will be in ‘coming weeks’

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R) staff tamped down reports on Tuesday indicating he had officially announced his intention to run for president.

On Tuesday evening CNN released a clip of Pawlenty’s interview with host Piers Morgan, during which he was asked if he would hypothetically consider accepting the vice presidential nomination.

{mosads}”I’m running for president. I’m not throwing my hat in the ring rhetorically, or ultimately, for vice president,” Pawlenty answered. “So, I’m running for president.”

Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant quickly took to Twitter, saying that CNN had taken the clip out of context and that it did not represent an official announcement. He also flagged another portion of the interview not included in CNN’s initial report. 

“I just hope that the country will take the full measure of all the candidates and make an informed decision. I think they will … I’ve got an exploratory committee up and running and we’ll have a final o[r] full announcement on that in the coming weeks,” he said. “It won’t be too much longer. But everything is headed in that direction.”

The former governor was the first mainstream GOP presidential contender to form an exploratory committee, doing so in late March. But now others are emerging from the field: former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) announced his exploratory committee on Monday.

Pawlenty has demonstrated that he is serious about seeking the GOP nomination, even though he continues to lag behind other candidates in the polls. He hired top Republican operative Nick Ayers as his campaign manager on Monday and has worked to assemble staff in early primary states such as Iowa and New Hampshire while courting major party donors. 

He brushed aside one of the main concerns about his fledgling campaign: that his name recognition is extremely low. A CNN/Opinion Research poll showed that only 2 percent pick Pawlenty as their first choice.

“I’m just, for me, getting known, Piers, so our trajectory is kind of a tortoise-and-hare strategy. And as we get better known, particularly in the early states, I think you’ll see those numbers change for me,” Pawlenty said.

— This post was changed from an original version published at 8:56 p.m.


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