Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty had no earth shattering announcements about his future on Friday, but he did have a story about a wild Porsche ride with Jesse Ventura and some advice for current Governor Mark Dayton and legislative leaders.
Pawlenty spent about an hour chatting with former Speaker Steve Sviggum about the state of politics (it’s divisive), his run for president (“more brief than a Kardashian Marriage”) and the Minnesota Wild’s chances in the playoffs (they have a hot goalie). Pawlenty is currently the CEO of The Financial Services Roundtable in Washington, D.C.
Sviggum fed Pawlenty questions from the lunchtime crowd at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. Through Sviggum, Representative Phyllis Kahn asked how Pawlenty felt in 2008 when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his presidential running mate instead of him. Pawlenty replied that he didn’t think Palin was prepared to do the job.
On income inequality, Pawlenty said the minimum wage has to occasionally go up, but that education has a bigger impact on people’s success than the minimum wage does.
On the 2016 presidential race, Pawlenty sees Jeb Bush and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker as the front runners. “He’s got a boatload of money,” Pawlenty said of Bush. But noted that Walker had more experience working and speaking in a mostly Democratic state. He said that was the downfall of many Republicans – being “ham fisted” when it came to speaking in front of audiences that were mixed politically.
On his own future, Pawlenty said he was “politically retired”, but added he doesn’t know what his future holds and noted that he was “only 54.”
Videos: Pawenty’s future, advice, and a wild ride with Jesse Ventura
Pawlenty said it irked him when he was governor when other former governors would offer up advice. He said he wished they would “shut the hell up.” But then he offered his own advice for Minnesota’s current political leaders. He suggested that since there was a surplus there should be some tax relief, spending should be examined, and he would like to see “incentive money” for education reform.
One former governor Pawlenty said did not try to give him advice was Jesse Ventura. He said Ventura once took him out for a spin in a new Porsche and buried the needle on the speedometer while zooming on I-94. Ventura said he didn’t like getting advice from former governors either.
Here’s Pawlenty telling that story:
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Video at top: Pawlenty’s advice to current Minnesota leaders
Video below: Full session with Sviggum and Pawlenty