Since when does Tim Pawlenty have a southern accent?

He’s an attractive candidate because he was twice elected governor in Democratic-leaning Minnesota. He did this by appealing to the economic concerns of the working class – “Sam’s Club Republicans,” he calls them – and by declining to wear his deeply conservative social views (he’s an evangelical Christian) on his sleeve.

But now Pawlenty is campaigning as if he’s some sort of Southern preacher. At the Faith & Freedom event, he was dropping g’s all over the place, using “ain’t” instead of “isn’t,” and adding a syrup to his vowels not indigenous to Minnesota. He didn’t utter the word “jobs,” made only passing reference to economic woes, and instead gave the assembled religious conservatives a fiery speech about God, gays and gynecology…

“This ain’t about easy; this is about rolling up our sleeves and plowing ahead and getting the job done,” he said, pronouncing “getting” as “git-ing.” “We, the people of the United States, will rise up again.” “United” became “yew-nah-ted” and “again” became “a-gin.” Perhaps he thought he was in South Carolina (Pawlenty pronounced it “care-lahna”) as he spoke about the other “kinds (kahns) of things” he’s done.