Is Pawlenty accepting new job a political sign?

ST. PAUL, Minn. - An advisor to former Gov. Tim Pawlenty says the long-time politician will not be appearing on a Minnesota ballot anytime soon.

"He is taking off the table running for governor or U.S. Senate in 2014, because he is really excited about this job, and he's fully focused on that and committed to it," said Brian McClung, Pawlenty's former spokesman and current advisor.

McClung told KARE 11 that Pawlenty only commented on his political plans through the 2014 election. McClung's comments came just hours after the announcement thatPawlenty has accepted a new job as chief executive of The Financial Services Roundtable, a Wall Street lobbying group.

The position requires Pawlenty to leave his job as national co-chairman of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. Some analysts have suggested Pawlenty's timing suggests he's heeding the latest polls -- including this week's poll from the Pew Research Center, showing Romney trailing President Barack Obama by 8 points.

"The idea that people are interpreting it that way is just ridiculous. Gov. Pawlenty fully supports Mitt Romney. He has been a tireless advocate and surrogate for him," McClung said.

"Politics is about perception and even if it has no connection, there's going to be a perceived connection," said David Schultz, a Hamline University School of Law professor and political analyst.


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