With Gov. Daniels out of the running for the presidency, candidates seem to be scrambling to fill the void of "calm, sober guy who can manage budgets." According to a recent article in the Daily Caller, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty appears to be vying hardest to be "the other Mitch Daniels."
In a Facebook town hall Tuesday, presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty positioned himself as the logical alternative to Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who announced on Sunday that he would not enter the race for the White House…
Then the former Minnesota governor took one question on the subject of his education policies.
“In the state of Indiana, our governor has been really hard on teachers,” asked one girl. “What is your view of education?”
Pawlenty voiced a position on education similar to the reforms passed by Daniels in the last Indiana legislative session: school choice and vouchers, support for charter schools, and saying that education policy should be geared to help children and should “put their needs first, rather than the interests of adults in public employee union movement.”
The choice of the question seemed deliberate, as a way to position Pawlenty as the natural alternative for Daniels’ supporters.
There was a marked contrast between Pawlenty’s presentation and the way another candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, conducted a Facebook town hall last week.
Pawlenty sat at a table in Florida in front of the U.S. flag and a state flag. He wore a suit and tie and read questions off his iPad, conveying a serious atmosphere and emphasizing his tech savvy.
Romney, who has been accused of being too stiff and buttoned down, wore a shirt during his town hall, with the top two buttons unbuttoned. The town hall took place in Nevada, and in the background were a number of people who had volunteered to make phone calls to fundraise for the former Massachusetts governor.
Pawlenty’s town hall seemed much more produced and polished. But despite the fact that a Facebook town hall is meant to convey the idea that anyone can have access to the candidate, it was clear that both chose their questions carefully.
Critics argue his past support of cap-and-trade legislation will hurt him in the GOP nomination — and they say his milquetoast delivery won’t go over well in primaries. What do you think?