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JONAH GOLDBERG: Romney, Perry, Pawlenty and the likability factor – latimes.com

September 14, 2011

Republican presidential hopeful Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks during a “Welcome Home Rally” at Abel’s on the Lake in Austin, Texas. (Michael Thomas / Associated Press / August 20, 2011)

Goldberg: Perry’s sweet spot

Republican voters want to beat Obama. But they also want to like their candidate. That’s a bigger challenge for Mitt Romney than for Rick Perry.

By Jonah Goldberg

September 13, 2011

Is it too late for Mitt Romney to ask Tim Pawlenty to endorse Rick Perry instead? On Monday, the former Minnesota governor and, until the Iowa straw poll, presidential contender endorsed Romney’s presidential bid.

As best I can tell, reaction from rank-and-file Republicans does not suggest that a resulting tectonic shift in the polls toward Romney is imminent.

According to legend, Josef Stalin asked, “How many divisions does the pope have?” Upon hearing the Pawlenty news, no doubt Perry said something similar, albeit with a Texan flavor. Perhaps, “How many buckaroos does Pawlenty have in his posse?”

The answer, of course, is, “Not many.”

As Pawlenty put it in a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, he went “all the way from 1% to 1%” in the polls.

Pawlenty also added that there’s “more and more of a reality TV show component to these races; you gotta have not just money, but you gotta have an entertainment component” as well. When Colbert asked Pawlenty whether he considered juggling, Pawlenty responded, “I thought about shooting sparks up my butt.”

Let’s be fair: That might have worked. But so might have talking like the guy we saw with Colbert. The one time I met Pawlenty, at the governor’s mansion in 2008, he was a wry, sharp, funny character. As a presidential candidate, however, he seemed more like a nerdy high school assistant principal awkwardly trying to rev up the student body before the homecoming game.

via Jonah Goldberg: Romney, Perry, Pawlenty and the likability factor – latimes.com.

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