Tim Pawlenty drops out of presidential race

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Finishing an ignominious third behind liberty-loving Ron Paul and first-place finisher Michele Bachmann in the Ames straw poll, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty saw the writing on the wall and announced, on an early morning conference call with supporters this morning, that he would be dropping out of the presidential race.

T-Paw was hoping to get some "lift" out of Ames, as he told This Week's Jake Tapper, but alas, the charisma deficit proved too hard to overcome in the end. And when you're not even the most popular candidate in your own state, it probably makes sense to bail early. And with Texas Governor Rick Perry announcing his candidacy on Saturday, Pawlenty was probably doomed to fall even further back in the pack.

Pawlenty said on This Week that "What I brought forward, I thought, was a rational, established, credible, strong record of results, based on experience governing — a two-term governor of a blue state. But I think the audience, so to speak, was looking for something different."

Pawlenty also had trouble raising a viable amount of money for his campaign, and spent a good chunk of what he did have on advertising and organizing in Iowa. He said he won't even consider a vice-presidential nomination, and, after taking his daughter off to college, will decide on his next move.