With his second campaign video, Republican candidate for president Tim Pawlenty seems to be working with his media team to establish his brand as “Patriotic Midwestern Downer.” The video released today, “A Time for Truth,” presents in Depression-era black and white the candidate’s unsmiling narrow face with its deep-set eyes, and it opens with a 40-second chronicle of the nation’s woes. The message, in Pawlenty’s words: “Our country’s in big trouble.” This comes on the heels of Pawlenty’s pre-campaign video called “Courage to Stand,” which was a kind of motivational scolding. “None of this is gonna be easy,” he says. “We gotta roll up our sleeves.”
The former Minnesota governor is an underdog popular in Iowa and battling perceptions that he is an uncharismatic no-name who will push austerity, at least on Americans who are not already wealthy. His campaign so far seems to be embracing and promoting this image.
The Colorado Independent’s sister site in Iowa has been following and ranking the presidential campaigns as they develop on the ground in the Hawkeye state. Here’s how the site reported on the Pawlenty campaign:
Pawlenty’s campaign has been a mainstay in our rankings since its inception due to his seemingly constant presence here and the fact that he has surrounded himself with key staff members and advisers who are highly respected by Iowans. There is little wonder, in a time where our panelists have uncertainty about the field, they would once again return to Pawlenty overwhelmingly as the person who would benefit the most if the caucuses were held tonight.
“I think there is a stability factor with TPaw,” one of our panelists said. “He has consistently been here, consistently making noises that he wants to be the next President. It’s also a bonus — in light of what happened with Donald Trump — that he hasn’t personally screwed over the state party. In contrast, TPaw’s ‘nice guy’ persona has gone from boring to totally appealing.”
Another panelist adds that Pawlenty “gets a boost” for this edition because of his anticipated plans to formally announce his candidacy in Des Moines today.
“He was talked about on a very short list of VP candidates for John McCain in 2008, and being not only a two-term governor, but one from a neighboring state, naturally attract Iowans’ interest. He’ll keep doing groundwork, much like how Barack Obama did in 07, and while he may not win, he’ll be in the top three of the Iowa caucus results,” said another panelist while noting that it isn’t just GOP buzz that has many believing Pawlenty is the guy to beat.
“[T]he Iowa Democratic Party cannot stop attacking him … [having] done so far more than any other candidate, and it seems they are worried he is building too much support on the ground.”