His lower profile was evident in the turnout of this year's Boston tea party tax day event. Anne McClure, who attended last year event, noted it had been “much more crowded” last year, when former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin headlined.
“He’s an interesting person to watch,” said Ms. McClure, who admires Pawlenty’s record, but does not yet know who she will support for the nomination.
Despite his mild-mannered reputation, Pawlenty seemed loose during his speech, making a series of jokes. He said Republicans could learn something from the "Rent is too damn high” party, the much lampooned, one-member party from last year's New York gubernatorial race. Pawlenty said he admired the simplicity of that party's message, and suggested Republicans follow suit with a simple message of their own: “The government is too damn big.”
In a CNN poll released Tuesday, just 2 percent of Republicans named Pawlenty as their first choice for the Republican nomination. This put him behind Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ranked first with 19 percent of respondents choosing them. Ms. Palin, Minnesota Rep. Michelle Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and several others finished ahead of Pawlenty, as well.