Pawlenty Nomination Watch

**Charlie Cook** is [bullish](http://rdd.me/ktnjxnay) on former Minnesota Governor **Tim Pawlenty**'s chances for the Republican presidential nomination:

>While former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is generally considered to be the front-runner, he is going to have a tough time broadening his appeal to the different factions of the Republican Party. He is limited by conservative antipathy toward the health care plan that he pushed through while he was governor of Massachusetts and will have to fight broader concerns about his authenticity and a resistance to his Mormon faith among many rank-and-file Republicans, particularly evangelical Christians in rural America.  

>At this point, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty seems to be the candidate who has the greatest potential to bridge these disparate factions and put together the money needed to run a winning race.

As I said [yesterday](http://prospect.org/csnc/blogs/tapped_archive?month=05&year=2011&base_na...), at this point, Pawlenty is the natural choice for Romney-skeptics within the Republican Party. At this point, we're just waiting on GOP elites to give up on **Chris Christie**, **Paul Ryan** or other white knights, recognize the extent to which Pawlenty is a perfectly credible candidate, with the ability to win in 2012 if economic conditions haven't improved.

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