Opinion: Tim Pawlenty keeps giving us more info than we might want


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The buzz surrounding Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has risen to bee-hive levels, with two recent articles offering in-depth looks at the positives and negatives he would offer as John McCain’s running mate. And if Pawlenty does end up the pick, it will be interesting to see if he continues his habit of cracking jokes about his wife.

Pawlenty, the product of a blue-collar upbringing who has thrived in a state that McCain would love to snatch from the Democratic column, is known -- as was noted in this Washington Post story on his political pluses and minuses -- for urging the Republican Party to identify itself with ‘Sam’s Club, not just the country club.’


Indeed, a lengthy and very readable New Republic profile of him includes a scene of Pawlenty, with writer Noam Scheiber in tow, hanging out with regulars at a bar adjoining an American Legion Hall. (The story also points out that if he is tapped for the veep spot, ‘Pawlenty will be the first presidential running mate to have worn a mullet into middle age.’)

Before this recent burst of publicity, Pawlenty earned some attention in early May with this quip on a Minneapolis radio show: ‘I have a wife who genuinely loves to fish. I mean, she will take the lead and ask me to go out fishing. ... She loves football, she’ll go to hockey games and, I jokingly say, ‘Now, if I could only get her to have sex with me.’ ‘

He quickly clarified that he was joking, even as his wife could be heard kvetching in the background.

Pawlenty couldn’t resist another spousal reference during an appearance last week on CNN.

Wolf Blitzer, discussing the speculation over McCain’s vice presidential prospects, told the governor: ‘You’re on the short list. That’s what everyone says.’

Replied Pawlenty: ‘Well, my wife says I’m on a different kind of list.’

He did not specify what list that might be. And perhaps he’s learning to curb his tongue. During a follow-up CNN appearance Sunday with Blitzer, Pawlenty made no mention of his domestic tranquility.

-- Don Frederick