Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has struggled to crack double digits in the race for the Republican nomination. But don't count him out, writes Michael Crowley in TIME. Once the competition has either stepped back or flamed out, he might well be the last guy standing. Going for him: a good story – blue-collar son of a truck driver, etc. – a Minnesota-nice demeanor, a respectable record in office, a skeleton-free closet, and conservative bona fides of the non-crazy variety. Against: he's almost a cartoon of blandness; and he's on record as having taken climate change seriously, which doesn't go over well with the Republican base (even if he did recently apologize for his crime). Plus, based on a few details in this piece, I'd say he has some fire-in-the-belly issues. Crowley asks him when he first believed he was presidential material.
"[H]e answers in less than grandiose terms, explaining how he'd set up a political-action committee in 2009. I try again, saying I am curious about when he first imagined himself worthy of the history books, ready to send soldiers to their deaths and endure the national stage's harsh toll. "I don't know," he replies. 'I wish I had a good answer for you on that.' ... He adds that he almost didn't run at all. 'Mary and I talked about this at length, and many times, and it was a close call,' he says, mentioning his wife of 24 years. He adds with a laugh, 'It could have gone the other way for all the reasons you're suggesting.'"
OK, admittedly, that's kind of endearing; a guy who could tell you when he was called by Destiny to lead the free world is a guy with problems, no doubt. But come on!
PLUS: Check out this incredibly dramatic Pawlenty campaign video, titled Could Have Gone the Other Way Courage to Stand.