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Decision looms for Pawlenty

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For those waiting to see if Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to make a transition from leader of the state to leader of the nation, they won't have to wait much longer.

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Pawlenty said he plans to decide by March if he'll run for president in 2012, making him one of The Forum's people to watch in 2011.

Rumors have circulated for years that Pawlenty would one day make a bid for the office of president, especially after almost becoming Sen. John McCain's running mate in 2008.

Political pundits across the country are keeping an eye on the former attorney - as are his constituents. He says a presidential bid in 2012 is not a given.

"I haven't decided that yet," Pawlenty said in an interview earlier this month.

Pawlenty is stepping away from the governor's office after two terms in which he was known for freely exercising his veto power. He said the vetoes were needed in order to initiate change within a state now grappling with a $6 billion deficit.

"I think we've made a difference in Minnesota," he said of his administration.

So what will Pawlenty be doing after giving up the state seat?

Pawlenty believes he has the leadership and experience it would take to run for president, but he also realizes there may be shortcomings he will have to address before making the election bid.

He said his name is not synonymous with celebrityhood in the national arena.

"I'm no Lady Gaga," Pawlenty said.

Pawlenty also did not rule out a bid for the U.S. Senate during his interview this month.

Until he decides, Pawlenty said he and his family will remain in Minnesota. With his new book being released on Jan. 11, he also plans to do a lot of traveling.

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