Can a nice guy like Pawlenty finish first?

But there is one thing that gets a rise out of Pawlenty, and that is to suggest that he lacks a certain . . . pizzazz.

“Compared to who?” Pawlenty retorted in an interview. “I’ll concede that Sarah Palin is in a league of her own and a force of nature. As to most of the rest in the field? If you get to know me, I don’t think that’s an accurate rap. I mean, you think about all the other people running. With the possible exception of Mike Huckabee, and Palin, there aren’t exactly a bunch of Lady Gagas.”…

Pawlenty is betting that the 2012 presidential race will take just as many unlikely bounces.

“On the Republican side, there’s going to be six or eight or 10 people standing on the stage in a year and a half saying about the same thing. . . . I don’t think the question is going to be, are there huge differences in policy details between me or other potential candidates?

“The question is going to be, does that person’s life story and record demonstrate the kind of fortitude it’s going to take to actually get this done – not as a matter of giving a fluffy speech or offering some failed amendment or taking some symbolic act, but actually getting it done?”