Listen: Travel (scheck) - 0566

MPR News analyzed the governor's campaign travel, his public events schedule and press accounts and found that he's been out of the state all or part of the day at least 25 times between January 1st and March 12th, 2008.

Much of that time was on behalf of Republican presidential candidate John McCain. Pawlenty has traveled to Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Florida to campaign for McCain.


2008 NBNA Eric Sevareid Award, first place in Investigative - Large Market Radio category


text | pdf |

TOM SCHECK: Governor Pawlenty is clearly racking up the frequent flyer miles. NPR News analyzed the governor's campaign travel, his public events schedule, and press accounts, and found that he's been out of the state all or part of the day, at least 25 times between January 1 and March 12. Much of that time was on behalf of presidential hopeful John McCain.

TIM PAWLENTY: I'd say. Oakland County rocks. This is awesome. Thanks for coming out for Senator McCain.

TOM SCHECK: Pawlenty made those comments in Michigan. He also traveled to Iowa, Illinois, and Florida to campaign for McCain. He co-chairs McCain's presidential committee and spent at least 10 days campaigning for McCain since January 1.

TIM PAWLENTY: Then we got a lot of good candidates, but we got one great man, one great person running for president of United States, and he's standing right here.

TOM SCHECK: It should be noted that most of that campaigning has occurred on the weekends. Pawlenty also spent part of a weekend at McCain's vacation home in Sedona, Arizona earlier this month, he met with McCain and his other political advisors. The governor also hit the road to attend the National Governors Association's winter meetings in Washington DC.

Pawlenty chairs the RGA and was promoting his proposal to adopt clean energy alternatives. While in Washington, Pawlenty appeared on the Sunday morning TV talk shows. Much of the conversation was about the presidential campaign and the possibility that Pawlenty could be McCain's running mate. Here's Chris Wallace and Pawlenty on Fox News Sunday.

CHRIS WALLACE: Would you be interested in running with him if he asked you? And do you think you could add something to a ticket, both politically in terms of policy, and also in terms of, perhaps, putting the upper Mississippi Valley into play?

TIM PAWLENTY: I have a day job, and I support him because I think he'd be a great president, not because I want to be vice president.

TOM SCHECK: The governor has taken at least three other trips to Washington, DC since the beginning of the year. On one, he spoke at the Washington International Renewable Energy conference. On another, he reportedly attended the annual gridiron dinner, and on another, he was on his way to Germany. The three-day trip to Germany was to attend an international conference on security policy. Pawlenty also made at least one out of state trip to Chicago on behalf of the Minneapolis Saint Paul host committee for the 2008 RNC convention.

It's not always easy to tell when the governor is in Minnesota and when he's not. The public events schedule given to reporters doesn't show many of his out of state trips. On 29 days over the past 2 and 1/2 months, it simply said no public events scheduled. A request under the state's public records law to see Governor pawlenty's full schedule was not fulfilled in time for this report. Pawlenty explained his travel earlier this week.

TIM PAWLENTY: Most of my travels have been on the weekends, Tom, and I put in enough hours as governor to more than take care of my duties here.

TOM SCHECK: And governor, a question--

TIM PAWLENTY: And much of the travel is also either for the host committee, which is boosting the state's presence from a hospitality when we are hosting the Republican convention or for the National Governors Association. So a lot of that is policy-related as well. So those are part of my duties.

TOM SCHECK: This isn't the first time a governor's travel has come into question, and it doesn't appear that the governor is making any money off of his travel, unlike his predecessor.

JESSE VENTURA: But the thing I love about the XFL is the heart and soul that these players show for the love of the game.

TOM SCHECK: That's former Governor Jesse Ventura on the opening night of the now defunct XFL in 2001. Ventura moonlighted as a color commentator for the Football League and also made trips to promote his books. Nevertheless, DFL lawmakers say governor pawlenty's out of state travel is having an impact on their working relationship. DFL House Majority Leader Tony Sertich says the governor has not been as engaged on certain issues like the transportation bill, the bonding bill and the budget. He says compared to other years, there's been a lot less communication between the governor and legislature.

TONY SERTICH: When the governor is not fully engaged in our discussions, we have to make more assumptions on where he stands on issues. And it's hard to negotiate with somebody when you're not sitting across the table.

TOM SCHECK: But Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung said the governor has been meeting with legislators. He said Pawlenty recently met with lawmakers regarding the higher education budget, health care, and the bonding bill.

BRIAN MCCLUNG: I think the legislature would tell you that sometimes they think Governor Pawlenty is too engaged. I mean, here's a guy who is frequently sending them letters, who is in communication with them. He's been hosting bipartisan groups of legislators at the governor's residence at his office, dating back to December.

TOM SCHECK: McClung says McCain's campaign, the RNC host committee, the Defense Department, and the National Governors association, paid for nearly all of pawlenty's out of state travel. He said the only time taxpayers picked up the tab for a trip was for the NBA's winter meetings in Washington DC last month. Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio News, at the Capitol.


Materials created/edited/published by Archive team as an assigned project during remote work period and in office during fiscal 2021-2022 period.

This Story Appears in the Following Collections

Views and opinions expressed in the content do not represent the opinions of APMG. APMG is not responsible for objectionable content and language represented on the site. Please use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report a piece of content. Thank you.

Transcriptions provided are machine generated, and while APMG makes the best effort for accuracy, mistakes will happen. Please excuse these errors and use the "Contact Us" button if you'd like to report an error. Thank you.

< path d="M23.5-64c0 0.1 0 0.1 0 0.2 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1 -0.1 0.1-0.1 0.3-0.1 0.4 -0.2 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.3 0 0 0 0.1 0 0.2 0 0.1 0 0.3 0.1 0.4 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.2 0.1 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.2 0 0.4-0.1 0.5-0.1 0.2 0 0.4 0 0.6-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.1-0.3 0.3-0.5 0.1-0.1 0.3 0 0.4-0.1 0.2-0.1 0.3-0.3 0.4-0.5 0-0.1 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.1 0.1-0.2 0.1-0.3 0-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.1-0.2 0-0.1 0-0.2 0-0.3 0-0.2 0-0.4-0.1-0.5 -0.4-0.7-1.2-0.9-2-0.8 -0.2 0-0.3 0.1-0.4 0.2 -0.2 0.1-0.1 0.2-0.3 0.2 -0.1 0-0.2 0.1-0.2 0.2C23.5-64 23.5-64.1 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64 23.5-64"/>