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Tim Pawlenty Panders To The Tea Party, Ctd.

Tim Pawlenty continues his adventures in pursuit of name-recognition:
Republican Tim Pawlenty, "T-Paw" to his supporters, has increasingly tied himself to the new crop of grass-roots activists in the 2012 presidential campaign.

So maybe it's time to call the former Minnesota governor "Tea-Paw."

He says his aggressive outreach to Tea Party audiences is one important part of a strategy to assemble the diverse network of backers he needs to go national and win the GOP nomination. He's not focusing solely on this emerging force in party politics, he says, perhaps mindful not to alienate other Republican groups.

"I'm not trying to introduce myself to the Tea Party. I'm trying to introduce myself to the whole party ... because I'm not known outside of Minnesota," Pawlenty told The Associated Press in a telephone interview ahead of a Saturday appearance at a Tea Party rally at the Iowa Statehouse. He spoke at a similar rally in Boston on Friday and to the movement's national summit in Phoenix in February.
"Tea-Paw"? Meh. It's somewhat clever. I would have gone with something like "Tim Pawlen-TEA". Heh.

I think that they key to Pawlenty's strategy here is in the emphasis that I've added. A conservative candidate can chase the Tea Party vote all they want to -- but there is a much larger swath of Republicans to court for the party's nomination. The Tea Party helps, but there are also Evangelicals, moderates, libertarian-leaners, et al.

The downfall of a candidate like Michele Bachmann will come when they have a strong backing by Tea Party Republicans, but zero credibility with the rest of the party.

This is where Pawlenty appears to be employing a successful strategy. While he is clearly courting Tea Party conservatives, he is not focusing 100% of his attention on them.