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Minnesota’s Pawlenty Says He Hasn’t Decided on Presidential Bid

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who last year announced he won’t seek re-election to his post, said he hasn’t decided whether to seek the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.

“I am focused on finishing my time as governor,” Pawlenty said today at a news conference in Osaka, Japan. “I haven’t made any decisions about what I may do next or beyond. We’ll have to save that for another day.”

Pawlenty, 49, has served as governor since 2003 and was among those considered as a running mate for Senator John McCain in his 2008 presidential bid. The Des Moines Register this week reported on its website that Pawlenty was the first 2012 presidential prospect to assign a full-time staff member to Iowa, site of the leadoff Republican caucuses.

Pawlenty, who was visiting Osaka to promote biotechnology and medical cooperation between Minnesota and western Japan’s Kansai region, also said it was “understandable” that Japan yesterday intervened to weaken the yen after it reached a 15-year high against the dollar.

“All countries are trying to strive for ways to improve their prospects for global marketing,” he said. “Over time these things are going to have to be done in a group or multilateral setting.”

Pawlenty said Japan and the U.S. should focus on medical technology and bio-science because they can lead the fields in innovation and competitiveness.

“Once we have an innovation, it is inevitable that other places will copy or mimic it,” he said. “This is an area that is incredibly promising for Japan, it’s incredibly promising for Minnesota and for the United States. It is our current competitive advantage.”

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