Pawlenty will run for president or get off the pot in two weeks [UPDATE]

Tim Pawlenty says he will decide once and for all in the next two or three weeks whether he'll make a 2012 run for the White House.

After three epic campaign commercials, a national book tour, frequent-flyer excursions to New Hampshire and Iowa, and incessant sucking up to tea partiers, is there really any doubt about his conclusion?


He told MPR the other day that he'd make a call within 45 days or less. Then a campaign insider told CNN that "less" meant two or three weeks.

The question is whether GOP voters give a hoot. He came in second in a tea party straw poll last weekend in Arizona, but in surveys of Republican voters, and even at CPAC, he's become a dependable also-ran.

And then there's the question of whether he could beat Barack Obama were he to win the GOP nomination. The economy is recovering, and the president's positives are outweighing his negatives in national opinion surveys again. Here's the Real Clear Politics poll average.

Part of Pawlenty's problem: He hasn't been able to hold a candle to the star power of national GOP figures like Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, or Sarah Palin. Gingrich is supposed to announce his intentions today, and Fox News just suspended him as a paid contributor, along with Rick Santorum.

Michele Bachmann could still screw up his plans, as well. Iowa Tea Party Chairman Ryan Rhodes says Pawlenty, Bachmann, Santorum, and former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain may take part in a 20-city bus tour in June.

On the other hand, he's convinced himself he's the rightful heir to the Founding Fathers, Abraham Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan, so he's definitely got his ego in the right place:

Update: Gingrich kinda sorta did something today, announcing that he's launching a website to raise money and explore the idea of running for the GOP nomination -- without actually saying he's doing anything of the sort.

The website's homepage -- it's only page right now -- features Gingrich and wife Callista. For those of you keeping score at home, Gingrich is currently enjoying his third sanctity of marriage.

Pawlenty will run for president or get off the pot in two weeks [UPDATE]

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