Tim Pawlenty: My friend Sarah Palin ‘has the tools’ to compete for presidency in 2012

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Newly replaced Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty thinks Sarah Palin is a force to be reckoned with, according to an ABC News “Nightline” interview with Pawlenty scheduled to air Friday evening.

“If she wanted to compete for the presidency, I think she has the tools to do it,” Pawlenty said of Palin, who he called a “friend” and “remarkable leader.”

“I don’t think it’s fair to say people are afraid of her,” he said. “It’s fair to say she is somebody who’s got a lot of influence and can use it for good, if she chooses to.”

With regard to his own presidential ambitions, Pawlenty said he likely will decide whether to run by March or April, although he expressed doubt on the endeavor.

“Mostly to run for president these days, you gotta be famous, have a lot of money or have novelty, I don’t have any of that, but I have some good ideas and some good experiences.”

Pawlenty, who didn’t run for a third term as governor, said he had “no doubt in [his] mind that [he’d] be prepared to be president,” but that he may not have a recognizable enough name to have a successful presidential run.

“I’ve got a long way to go to get people to even know my name, much less worrying about whether I could beat, you know, the force of nature that is Sarah Palin.”