The Fix: Pawlenty's trip a sign of potential 2012 presidential run


Chris Cillizza has long been a cheerleader and promoter for Gov. Tim Pawlenty, so his suspicions of his plans for higher office come as no surprise. But he's got an interesting angle when he correlates Pawlenty's recent trips abroad to his political ambitions in 2012.

Pawlenty was on a three-day trip to Germany to attend the Munich COnference on Security Policy with the bigwigs including Vice President Biden and Sen. John McCain. 

The trip is "the latest evidence that the Minnesota Republican is working to broaden his policy palette in advance of a potential run for president in 2012," Cillizza says.
The stated reason for the trip was so that Pawlenty could gain information and context on the situation facing Minnesotans being sent to Iraq. "The governor feels it's helpful to have a deep understanding of security issues," a spokesman told the Star-Tribune. 
The trip to Germany comes less than two months after Pawlenty traveled to Israel for a week -- the stated purpose of which was to explore trade opportunities for Minnesota businesses. 
Such trips allow Pawlenty, who is widely seen as a potential presidential candidate in 2012, to shore up his one obvious weakness (and the weakness of any governor running for national office): lack of foreign policy experience and know-how.
So is Pawlenty taking these trips for Minnesota's benefit or selfish self-promoting reasons? Is it still too early to analyze motives?