Tim Pawlenty makes Newsweek's "most intriguing" list

On stands now ...
On stands now ...

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is famously uninteresting, which is apparently what makes him so intriguing to Newsweek, which put him in the company of such luminaries as David Patraeus, Hamid Karzai, Nancy Pelosi, and Bill Clinton in its new issue celebrating "people who matter on what matters most."

In the interview with Howard Finemen, Pawlenty even jokes about the oddness of his inclusion.

Fineman: Governor, for our year-end issue, we wanted to interview intriguing people about the future, including the future of the Republican Party.

Pawlenty: And they weren't available, so you came to see me!

Yes, Sarah Palin was on book tour. What is it about her that is so fascinating?

Well, I think she is a political rock star. 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.

The oddest moment of the interview comes when T-Paw confesses his one regret was being too nice to cross-dressers.

To borrow a phrase, have your views evolved over time?
In 1993 I voted for a bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodation, housing, and employment. That was 16 years ago.

Yes, gay-rights activists regarded you as a pretty cool guy at the time.
We overbaked that statute, for a couple of reasons. If I had to do it over again I would have changed some things.

That statute is not worded the way it should be. I said I regretted the vote later because it included things like cross-dressing, and a variety of other people involved in behaviors that weren't based on sexual orientation, just a preference for the way they dressed and behaved. So it was overly broad. So if you are a third-grade teacher and you are a man and you show up on Monday as Mr. Johnson and you show up on Tuesday as Mrs. Johnson, that is a little confusing to the kids. So I don't like that.

Has the law been changed?
No. It should be, though.

So you want to protect kids against cross-dressing elementary-school teachers. Do you have any in Minnesota?
Probably. We've had a few instances, not exactly like that, but similar.

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