Tim "nobody knows who I am" Pawlenty praises Sarah Palin

When he recently sat down for an interview with Newsweek's Howard Fineman, Tim Pawlenty took a hard look at his I'm-not-running-yet presidential aspirations and came to this conclusion: "I have a PAC I set up. I'll just see. Nobody knows who I am, to speak of. I am known in Minnesota and a few pockets or circles of influence around the country. There is a legitimate question about whether somebody who is basically unknown, isn't independently wealthy, isn't famous, would have a chance."

Perhaps it isn't surprising then that he'd want to edge closer to the GOP base's favorite blowtorch, Sarah Palin, so folks can see him standing in the shadows.

"I think she is a political rock star," Pawlenty tells Fineman. "She got enormous attention and support from a big chunk of the country as the vice presidential candidate. And she has sustained that. In part, it's because she has tapped into a kind of base-level feeling about the role and scope of government. She speaks bluntly and plainly in ways people can understand."

Whether or not she's speaking the truth is another matter. The former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential candidate just won PolitiFact's annual "lie of the year" competition for this gem:

"The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's 'death panel' so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their 'level of productivity in society,' whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil."

The reality, the bill had a provision allowing Medicare to pay for doctor appointments about end-of-life counseling.

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