Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is tamping down excitement over word that he officially announced his intention to run for the GOP nomination on a late night talk show Tuesday night.
"I was asked if I wanted to be Donald Trump's running mate, and I said look, I'm running for president. And in the next paragraph I explained in an exploratory committee but they only clipped the first part," Pawlenty said in an appearance on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday, referring to an interview he gave on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."
"[I]f you read the whole interview, I think people understood what I was saying," he continued.
"I've said many times ... that I'm not being cute about it. I'm interested in doing it. I'm leaning in that direction. We just haven't made the final decision and preparations to make the full and final announcement."
The former governor also dismissed low showings in national polls, saying early ratings are all about name recognition of "celebrities" who ran in 2008.
"If you threw in Hulk Hogan and [people] like that, they'd be at the top of the polls, too," he said.
Pawlenty may not have made it official, but he appears to be building an experienced campaign team. The Pawlenty exploratory committee announced Wednesday morning that veteran strategist Jon Seaton has been hired as national political director. Seaton served as a field director for Sen. John McCain's 2008 campaign and worked for George W. Bush's second campaign and administration.