Pawlenty Hints He May Drop Out If He Performs Poorly In Ames Straw Poll
It may just be an acknowledgment of reality, but Tim Pawlenty seems to be suggesting publicly that he may not be in the 2012 race very much longer:
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) admitted Friday he’ll have to “reassess” the direction of his campaign if he finishes poorly in Saturday’s Iowa straw poll.
Pawlenty said he could be forced to scale back his national infrastructure if he performs worse than expected in the Ames straw poll, where he’s expected to finish in the top three.
“We may not have any choice, if it went that way,” Pawlenty said at a breakfast in Iowa sponsored by Politico of the threat of a poor finish to his campaign.
A poor finish could threaten Pawlenty’s campaign because of his lackluster fundraising to date and high spending rate going into the straw poll. A number of top staff members are working with little or no pay, The Washington Post reported in June.
“If the thing went the other way hard, would we have to probably retrench or something? Probably, but I don’t think that will be the outcome,” Pawlenty said. “If we do really bad, then we’ll have to reassess.”
When a politician starts talking about the need to reassess their campaign, it really means setting the ground work for a graceful exit. I’d say anything other than a finish in the top three (and if he’s third, the gap between him and 2nd place would need to be fairly close) and Pawlenty’s campaign will lose whatever national credibility it still has at this point.