These are dark days to be a Republican.
On the one hand you have a bunch of nutty candidates running around pretending to be running for president, and on the other you have a bunch of not totally embarrassing candidates petrified of declaring their actual interest.
Last night it got extra ridiculous. And no this doesn’t involve Donald Trump.
Former Minnesota Gov, and current not-embarrassing likely GOP candidate, Tim Pawlenty went on Piers Morgan and said “I am running for President.” From CNN’s transcript:
Morgan: In a hypothetical scenario governor, if someone like Donald Trump was to emerge as the Republican nominee and asked you to be vice president, would you accept that honour?
Pawlenty: I’m running for president. I’m not putting my hat in the ring rhetorically or ultimately for vice president so I’m focused on running for president. And as to Donald Trump, I don’t even know if he’s going to run, but like I said, I hope he does in one sense. I think he’s funny, he brings a lot to the debate, but I just hope that the country will take the full measure of all the candidates and make an informed decision. I believe they will.
Not a lot of room for interpretation there. Unless of course you work for Pawlenty’s staff. Shortly after CNN began releasing clips ahead of the show Pawlenty’s team announced they were “very unhappy with how CNN framed the former governor’s comments” and that they would “have a final or full announcement in the coming weeks.”
If by framed they mean aired unedited than perhaps Pawlenty’s people have a point.
Otherwise it seems Pawlenty has subscribed to the Jon Kyl school of ‘despite my entirely serious tone was I said actually wasn’t intended to be taken as a fact-based statement’ politicking. It’s embarrassing.
At this point, not even Aaron Sorkin at his most West Wing obnoxious could have dreamed up a better GOP field for Obama to be facing down in 2012.
Video below. It’s fairly hard to misinterpret.