Tim Pawlenty has got to regret what he calls “the now-infamous ‘snout out of the trough’ line.” Not that he’ll admit it. The former governor of Minnesota and failed Republican presidential candidate is sitting in a Washington corner office still decorated with the grip-and-grin photographs of his predecessor. His black travel roller bag rests nearby. He’s a man in transition, discussing his move through the revolving door from public service to corporate influence.
Seeking his party’s nomination last year, Pawlenty tried to shed a competent-but-bland conservative profile. He engaged in Tea Party-lite attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He opposed raising the national debt ceiling, even if that meant a government default and possible economic calamity. And he went on CNN, CNBC, and Fox to deliver “a truth message” to Wall Street: “Get your snout out of the trough.”