Tim Pawlenty, under the guise of a book tour, wanted to talk about his possible presidential aspirations yesterday in New York.
The New York media needed a fresh face to fuel the debate about Sarah Palin's gun-happy political talk and Jared Loughner's bloody Tucson rampage.
Each got what they wanted, with Pawlenty performing a carefully choreographed dance.[jump]
He praised Palin as a passionate leader and defended her as a victim of the liberal media.
He defended passionate free speech.
And he made sure everyone understood that he wasn't he kind of Republican who would passionately exercise free speech the way Palin did, by placing gun sights over the names of political opponents on a map.
On "The View."
"There is no evidence that this deranged person acted because of some particular set of comments or experience with the media or politician," Pawlenty said during the segment. "That being said, our country, all of us, each of us, individually and collectively, can benefit from a more thoughtful and civil debate."
In the New York Times.
"It's not a device I would have chosen to do, but everyone's got their own style and approaches."
On "Good Morning America."
"There is a line there as it relates to basic civility, decency and respect and not trying to invoke violence.
With Neil Cavuto on Fox:
All of us, the nation, would be well served by having thoughtful, fair, accurate discourse.
With Katie Couric on CBS.
"I'm just saying you can express yourself firmly and passionately and with conviction. But you don't need to do it in a way that demeans others."
It's a tricky dance. So Pawlenty went on Ed Morrisey's show at the end of the day to clear things up: Leave poor, victimized Sarah alone.
"In fact, I've been using the day to say people shouldn't try to connect this to Sarah Palin, because there's no evidence of that and that it's unfair."
Just don't expect him to issue calls to lock and load.