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T-Paw climbs to No. 2 on The Fix list of GOP 2012 hopefuls

Paul Demko//March 4, 2011

T-Paw climbs to No. 2 on The Fix list of GOP 2012 hopefuls

Paul Demko//March 4, 2011

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is now the second most likely Republican to end up with the 2012 presidential nomination, according to the latest rankings from The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. Only former Massachussets Gov. Mitt Romney ranks ahead of T-Paw on the list.

Pawlenty moved up three slots on “The Line” from the last assessment in January. Here’s Cillizza’s analysis of why he’s got momentum:

2. Tim Pawlenty: The former Minnesota governor is starting to win people — including the Fix — over. He is diligently working at building organizations in Iowa and New Hampshire and there are some signs that those efforts are paying off as he placed a solid third in a January straw poll in the Granite State. The biggest knock on Pawlenty is that he’s too nice and/or not charismatic enough to win the nomination. But, Pawlenty is improving — his 2011 speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference was far better than the 2010 edition — and, given the flaws in the field, being too nice isn’t all that bad. As a result, Pawlenty is the name you hear on more and more lips when asking neutral Republicans who they think their nominee might be. And that’s a great place to be right now. (Previous ranking: 5)

Rep. Michele Bachmann also makes the list for the first time. After publicly flirting with a presidential bid in recent weeks, she clocks in at the ninth slot. “For tea-party aligned voters, Bachmann is a rock star; she was mobbed everywhere she went during last month’s CPAC gathering and her speech brought wild applause from the audience,” Cillizza writes. “But, Bachmann has little real political operation and virtually zero demonstrated ability — or willingness — to court voters outside of her conservative base.”

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