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As others see it: TPaw on the right track

The news was almost breathless: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has formed a presidential bid exploratory committee. "Pawlenty," The Forum's front-page headline said, "takes steps toward presidential run."

So what else is new? Pawlenty has been doing the presidential two-step for more than a year. He's made the TV news show circuit. He's appeared on at least one of the comedy faux news programs. He's traveled to early caucus state Iowa and early primary state New Hampshire enough times to claim residency. Every time a short list of potential Republican presidential candidates appears in national newspapers and other publications, Pawlenty's name is there. And that's no accident. He and his organization have been orchestrating a raise-his-profile campaign with uncommon skill.

To which we say: Good for him.

At this point in the Republican presidential sweepstakes, the field is wide open. No one has broken out of the pack, which includes luminaries such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Speaker of the U.S. House Newt Gingrich, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour. In that group, Pawenty is the newcomer, a factor that could play well for him.

Establishing an exploratory committee is supposed to be seen as the first serious step on the road to actively seeking the nomination. Pawlenty said a formal announcement will come "assuming the exploratory committee goes well." But the former governor was his own exploratory committee long before he decided not to seek re-election as governor. ...

Pawlenty, it appears, has his timing just about right.

The Forum