Mike Huckabee may have won the straw poll at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, but Tim Pawlenty may have done himself the most good. I saw the major contenders give their speeches and thought, like Mark Hemingway of NRO, that Pawlenty showed he had the goods.
Pawlenty’s presentation of his own record as a budget-balancer in MN was impressive and he sounded like the kind of conservative candidate who knows how to handle himself in a debate. The Minnesota governor came off as smart, tough, and ready for prime time. If he keeps making the rounds speaking the way he did Friday night, he is going to gain supporters in every part of the Republican coalition.
I’m tempted to include some excerpts from the remarks, but I don’t think it will do him justice. What impressed me more than any particular phrase was the way he carried himself. His countenance exuded challenge to the left. There was, to employ an overused sporting phrase, a notable swagger in the way Pawlenty looked and talked. This is a guy who wouldn’t make you afraid to tune in to debates or press conferences. Instead, you’d relish the chance to see him in action. Tim Pawlenty is ready for a fight.