Pawlenty Plays it Cool on Arkansas Speaking Trip

Potential 2012 GOP presidential candidate Pawlenty gets a crash course on a national campaign schedule.


By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

Lame-duck Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential Republican 2012 presidential candidate, got a crash course on how crazy a presidential campaign can be when he headed to an Arkansas speaking engagement last weekend. Our Suzi Parker reports that the two-term governor was scheduled to fly into Little Rock Friday afternoon in time to rest, shower, and shave before speaking at a state Republican fundraiser that night.

But his jet was held at Memphis with mechanical problems, canceling the next leg to Little Rock. That's where "Minnesota Nice" met "Arkansas Traveler." Rick Crawford, who is running for Congress against long-time Democrat Rep. Marion Berry, drove to Memphis to pick up the governor. But a traffic jam caused another delay. By the time Pawlenty got to Little Rock, there wasn't time for him to hit his hotel before attending the dinner. "He never once complained or was critical," said an Arkansas GOP insider who worked for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign. "The only thing I could think of was he got a crash course on going with the flow on the campaign trail if he decides to run. He had to go from Plan A to Plan B in the span of a couple of hours." Pawlenty flew without any staff. "He was low maintenance and easygoing. He wasn't too worked up over things he has no control over," said the insider.

Check out our gallery of Whispers political caricatures and gallery of political cartoons.

Read 10 Things You Didn't Know About Tim Pawlenty.

Follow Paul and Nikki on Twitter.

Read more Washington Whispers.