Tim Pawlenty Impresses Right Online #RO11

The energy level was not the same as with Michele Bachmann, but then the speech was a different sort of speech.Pawlenty arrived at Right Online after a rough day of travel from Iowa with a very late plane. We were actually going to meet and chat before he went on stage. Instead, he took off from Iowa at the time we were supposed to meet and made it to Right Online ten minutes before his speech.Consider that he arrived ten minutes before his speech after multiple flight problems and used neither notes nor the podium to make his case. The crowd responded extremely positively to a guy who could, unlike Obama, speak without a teleprompter and, unlike Bush, not make a series of unfortunate verbal gaffes as a result.It was a refreshing demeanor and a great speech. He threw in a jab about Mitt Romney saying we shouldn’t be rewarding co-conspirators to Obamacare. He took on Obama’s energy policy and spending policy. His energy policy was summed up in two words, “More energy.” He highlighted his record as Governor of Minnesota, even pointing out he was willing to shut down the government to force the legislature to restrain spending.His speech was like his campaign style — it was slow and steady, not boring, but not flashy, building steam to the end. By the end, he had the crowd cheering and denouncing Obama’s policies with him.A lot of people I know like Pawlenty a lot, but they don’t view him as “Presidential.” They sometimes use the word “gravitas” and say he lacks it in a way Mitt Romney does not. “Sure, he’s the guy you want to have the beer with, but maybe he isn’t the guy you want taking the 3 am phone call,” they say.Maybe it is the gradual evolution of Pawlenty on the campaign trail as he continues to build steam or maybe people are just noticing. But his speech, unteleprompted, without notes, and without time to decompress from his flight before taking stage, was the kind of speech a Presidential candidate gives who is the kind of candidate you must take seriously whether you want to or not.



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