- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In a possible opening skirmish for the 2012 presidential race, the Democratic National Committee is going after Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty by mocking the Republican as a cross between former conservative GOP Govs. Sarah Palin of Alaska and Mike Huckabee or Arkansas.

A new DNC Web video, obtained by The Washington Times, highlights a critical Minnesota Star-Tribune editorial saying the governor is “sporting a new Huckabee haircut these days [and is] peddling a Palinesque message.”

The video shows a photo of Mr. Huckabee, himself a potential 2012 candidate, and Mrs. Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, suggesting that adding the two together equals Mr. Pawlenty.

“Looks pretty close to us! And who can argue? Tim Pawlenty has been lining up with the Sarah Palins of the world for some time now,” the DNC planned to say in an evening press release.

The message may become a Democratic talking point if Mr. Pawlenty seeks the Republican nomination to challenge President Obama.

The DNC has been paying the governor more attention lately, arguing that the governor has embraced a number of conservative lines of attack and moved to the right to prepare for a Republican primary.

The DNC said Mr. Pawlenty has “pandered to the most radical fringe of the right wing by championing the ludicrous and thoroughly debunked ‘death panels’ charge, embracing the extreme ideals of Virginia gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell that working women are detrimental to the family, and railing against the president of the United States talking to school kids about the importance of personal responsibility and staying in school.”

The DNC video quotes from a sharp line in the editorial that the governor seemed to be “springing up and down in the back of every gathering of Republican presidential candidates like the Eddie Murphy-voiced donkey in ‘Shrek’: Pick me! Pick me!”

The newspaper’s editorial also complained Mr. Pawlenty had traveled to eight states as part of raising his national profile, calling him “AWOL” from his day job.

“Although Pawlenty can find 49 other states, he’s having trouble feeling his way around his home state,” the Star-Tribune editorialized.

Republicans scoffed at the DNC video.

“Why are the Democrats spending more time attacking Tim Pawlenty than tackling our nation’s problems? Americans want leaders ready to offer solutions — not petty, personal attacks,” said Alex Conant, a GOP consultant and Pawlenty adviser.

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