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Tim Pawlenty becomes No. 2 most influential Republican

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Yesterday, we told you about Tim Pawlenty's sudden interest in saying ridiculous things in front of cameras, such as suggesting using the 10th Amendment to block Obamacare, and cutting off funding from Minnesota to ACORN even though said funding amounts to zero dollars and zero cents.

We weren't the only ones who noticed. The Fix, the Washington Post's influential tracker of national politics, now ranks T-Paw at No. 2 on its list of 10 most influential republicans, right below potential presidential rival Mitt Romney. It's on.

2. Tim Pawlenty: Give Tpaw credit -- he recognized that he had to quickly get moving if he wanted to emerge as a national leader, and he has done just that. Pawlenty has been somewhere close to ever-present on cable chat shows and has generally weighed in on national issues with gravity and smarts. (His decision to suspend any expenditure of state dollars to ACORN backfired a bit when Minnesota's ACORN representative said the organization didn't get any state cash.) Pawlenty has a prime speaking spot at the Values Voters Summit tomorrow night; if he does well, expect the buzz factor on him to rise. (Previous ranking: 6)