By Jesse Marx
By Chris Parker
By Jake Rossen
By Jesse Marx
By Michelle LeBow
By Alleen Brown
By Maggie LaMaack
By CP Staff
Karl Rove came to town last month to headline a fundraiser for Pawlenty's 2006 reelection campaign. Doesn't that suggest he's one of the Bush/Rove inner circle's anointed ones, a figure to watch?
Not necessarily. It means that Rove wanted to check up on the 2006 congressional races here, including our much-watched Senate race, and it may mean that Pawlenty is among the field of potential candidates/clients he's looking at for 2008. But don't forget: When Karl Rove called Pawlenty in 2001 to ask him to stay out of the '02 Senate race, Pawlenty refused him, and it's hard to believe Rove has forgotten or forgiven, in view of how many Republican careers he is said to have derailed for kindred offenses. At the same time, Pawlenty is the popular Republican governor of a Midwestern battleground state, so GOP brass would not dismiss him out of hand regardless of how they viewed him personally.
But it should be noted that Pawlenty isn't even Bush/Rove's favorite Minnesota Republican; Norm Coleman is, and Coleman is thought by many to be angling for the vice presidential slot as well. Thus, even in his own state's GOP contingent, Pawlenty would seem the number two guy once more. But it's proven a good position for him in the past, and if the GOP ever gets around to vetting Norm seriously, it could be yet again.
Also in this issue: Minnesota Held Hostage: How the governor's political aspirations are preventing a budget deal by Britt Robson