Pawlenty on Palin’s crosshairs map: “I wouldn’t have done it”

In an interview Monday with reporters at The New York Times, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, considered another contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, defended Ms. Palin, if only to a point. “There’s no indication at present that those cross hairs, Fox News, any particular commentator or show or set of remarks or person was a motivating factor in his thoughts,” Mr. Pawlenty said of Mr. Loughner.

When asked if he would have produced a similar map, Mr. Pawlenty said, “I wouldn’t have done it.”…

But other Republicans said that if she was serious about becoming president, the shootings in Tucson might require Ms. Palin to step out of the political comfort zone she has defined for herself, whether she viewed the current criticism of her as fair or not.

The task may be all the more pressing given that polls, too, suggest that Ms. Palin has to pass the kind of “political character” test that a moment like this can present.