Earlier today, Tim Pawlenty met with the bloggers at CPAC to answer questions about his record and his campaign ahead of his speech this afternoon at 3 ET today. Pawlenty didn’t preview his speech, but instead chose to take questions from the bloggers — and the questions were definitely pointed in some aspects. Below, I have eighteen minutes of the 45-minute Q&A session Pawlenty conducted, including my question on doubts expressed about his ability to excite voters:

A few points in and outside of this video:

  • The word I used was “taciturn,” and I never went to Princeton.  At least he didn’t tell my wife to make me take her to nicer restaurants, like he did last year.
  • Pawlenty was asked twice about his previous support for cap-and-trade (one time in this video), and both times said he was flat-out wrong to support it.  He also said that he wouldn’t attempt to get “cute” about parsing it, but admits that it is just bad policy.
  • On DADT, Pawlenty objects to repealing it during the prosecution of two wars, especially when combat units clearly object to the repeal, as Pawlenty says the Pentagon survey demonstrated.  I asked him (outside of this video) how he proposed rolling it back if DADT ends before the 2012 election, and Pawlenty agreed that it would be “difficult” to unring the bell at that point — and he thinks the Obama administration will rush it through for that reason.
  • The video captures a lengthy response on the crisis in Egypt, in which Pawlenty not only criticizes the incoherent American response, but also the lack of preparation over “the last five to ten years” for the obvious issue of an aging Mubarak reaching the end of his life, if not his position.  Cairo is the “third largest American embassy in the world,” Pawlenty stated, wondering why no one seems to have cultivated a Plan B and identified democratization elements within Egypt during that period.

Later, I’ll try to poll the other bloggers who attended to get their reaction; I know a number of them entered the room skeptical of Pawlenty’s candidacy.