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Pawlenty Visits Woodbury, Says He’s Leaning Toward Presidential Run

Hundreds of residents were at Woodbury's LifeWay Christan Store Tuesday for a book-signing event.

Woodbury resident Adam Hanson was at at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning, the first of hundreds who came through for a book-signing event with former governor and potential presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty.

“I’m really excited,” Hanson said before he had a copy of Pawlenty’s Courage to Stand signed. “In his eight years in office he led Minnesota in a way we can all be proud of. He got things done in a tough situation.”

Pawlenty, who told reporters he was “seriously considering running in 2012,” shook hands and took pictures with the scores of people who lined up at the bookstore Tuesday. While the event ran from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pawlenty spoke with the media and a few supporters beforehand.

Hanson, 22, who graduated with a political science degree from Hamline University, interned with Pawlenty’s communications department last spring and said he thinks the former governor will make a run for the Republican presidential nomination.

“The writing’s on the wall,” Hanson said. “I think he’s got a good chance at winning. He’s getting his name out there, which is good for him. We all know him, and I guess I can’t say we all love him, but I think he’ll do well.”

Woodbury resident Lori Bakker was among those in line early Tuesday.

“I think he’s going to run, and he did very well on the talk show circuit last week,” she said.

Bakker was at LifeWay with her friend Cathy Ferazzo, who was getting a book signed for her husband.

“He says he wants a book signed by the next president of the United States,” Ferazzo said.

Dozens of media members were at the Woodbury bookstore Tuesday, and AM1280 radio was broadcasting live. , located near LifeWay in the Valley Creek Mall, made a cake with Pawlenty’s image and book on it.

Don Albee, assistant manager at LifeWay, said the Courage to Stand publisher and his company’s corporate office worked out the details of getting Pawlenty to Woodbury. “It just landed in our lap, so to speak,” he said.

The store changed ownership in August.

“It’s great exposure for us, being under the new name,” said Albee, noting that Woodbury police and mall security did a good job to help coordinate the event.

In an interview at the bookstore with KSTP’s Tom Hauser, Pawlenty said he would likely decide on a presidential run in March or April. He said the impact of a campaign on his family is a big factor in his decision.

Hauser also asked Pawlenty about U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, who some speculate will also vie for the Republican presidential nomination.

“I like Michele Bachmann. I respect her,” Pawlenty said, adding that there will be a number of candidates looking at running in 2012.

Virginia Patricelli works at LifeWay and was there on her day off to get her book signed. She just started reading Courage to Stand, “and I’m sure I can’t wait to get back to it,” she said.

“I would like to see him run,” Patricelli said. “He would be one of my top candidates, as of now.”

Woodbury resident Brian Johnson said he is a longtime friend of Pawlenty and the former governor asked about his family when he got his book signed. Johnson, too, said Pawlenty is one of the leading Republican candidates and would be ready to work on his campaign.

“He is a truly credible candidate,” Johnson said. “He’s doing all the right things.”

But Johnson said the outlook for Bachmann, who represents Woodbury in the U.S. House, isn’t as good.

“I think Michele doesn’t have a chance, that’s my personal opinion,” he said. “It’s just too late in the game and she’s not well known enough.”

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