Pawlenty doesn't commit to presidential run on 'Meet the Press'by Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Tim Pawlenty, in Washington D.C. this weekend for a political appearance at a conservative conference and National Governor's Association meetings, also appeared on NBC's Meet the Press.
In a wide ranging interview, Pawlenty admitted the federal stimulus program created jobs but said the money could have been better spent. He also declined to say whether he's running for president, saying he hasn't made up his mind yet.
"Well, I don't know what I'm going to do after I'm done being governor but as to my future, I'll probably sketch that out and decide that in early 2011," Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty also said he doesn't support ending the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy which prohibits gays and lesbians from openly serving in the military.
"Anecdotally, I know that there is still a great portion of those in the military community that is concerned about that," Pawlenty said. "They believe 'Don't ask, Don't tell' worked. It it's not broke, don't fix it, or rather, if it's not in need of fixing, you don't need to repair it. I'd leave it alone."
Pawlenty made those comments just minutes after Gen. David Petraeus said on the same program that the troops may not care if their fellow soldiers are gay. The Pentagon has started a review of "don't ask, don't tell" with an eye on repealing it.
Pawlenty appears to be ramping up a run for president. He formed a federal political action committee and visited several key presidential primary states. Democrats say Pawlenty should focus on his job as governor.
They say his plan to balance the state's budget with one-time money and federal money that isn't yet available shows he's more focused on his national aspirations than on the job he was elected to do.
On Saturday, Gov. Tim Pawlenty finished a distant fourth in a straw poll of potential presidential candidates.
The poll of nearly 2,400 people attending the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. shows U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, with the most support. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney finished second followed by former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
Pawlenty finished fourth with support of six percent of those polled. He tied with "undecided" and was just one percentage point ahead of "other."
Minnesota's governor has not ruled out a run for the White House but appears to be gearing up for a run. He spoke to CPAC this weekend, visited key presidential primary states and will campaign in Nevada and Missouri next week.
One bad sign for Pawlenty and the other eleven candidates on the straw poll ballot: 53 percent of those polled said they "wish the GOP had a better field of potential candidates" to run against President Obama in 2012.