Minnesota's Pawlenty May Challenge Obama for President in 2012

Tim Pawlenty is looking at running against President Obama in 2012.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has decided against running for a third term in 2010, will spend the next two years traveling the country to see if he can build enough support to run for president in 2012, according to associates. The Republican, who is expected to play up his humble roots and past in a populist bid against President Obama, will decide in 2011 if there is enough of a base on which to build his campaign. Those close to "T-Paw" said that his focus is the presidency, not a vice presidential nomination or an effort to raise his name recognition en route to a bid in 2016. When Pawlenty made his decision to stick to just two terms, it was viewed as his opening move in the 2012 campaign. GOP officials believe that he is likely to face Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and others in the early primaries and caucuses if he decides to run.