Reactions to Pawlenty's Decision to Drop Out of 2012 GOP Presidential Race

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The following are reactions from 2012 Republican presidential candidates and Democrats on Tim Pawlenty's decision to drop his bid for the Republican presidential nomination after a "disappointing" showing in the Iowa straw poll:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

-- "Tim Pawlenty is a good friend and colleague who I have worked closely with over the years, includingvisiting our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a governor, Tim stuck to conservative principles despite leading a blue state like Minnesota. He and Mary are true patriots who are committed to our country, and ran an honorable campaign that reflected their integrity. Gov. Pawlenty's common-sense conservative voice will remain prominent and influential as we work to beat President Obama in 2012 and get America working again."

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann:

-- "I have a great respect for the governor.  I have known him for a long time. And I thought he brought an important voice to the race and I'm grateful for the competition that we had."

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum:

-- "It has been a great pleasure to get to know Tim, Mary, and the entire Pawlenty family as we have crisscrossed the early primary states and various Republican events over the past few months. Tim is a tremendous family man, and devoted to moving our nation in the right direction and away from the radical agenda advanced by President Obama.  I have no doubt he will be an influential leader for the conservative movement in whatever capacity he decides for many years to come. And to Governor Pawlenty's many supporters who were attracted to his common-sense conservative record of achievement, know that my campaign will also stand for leadership based on tried and true conservative principles."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney:

-- "Tim Pawlenty and his entire team ran an honorable campaign. I admire his accomplishments as a two-term governor with a record of results for his state. I consider him a friend and I know he has a bright future ahead of him as a leader in the Republican Party."

Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman:

"Tim Pawlenty is an accomplished governor, a proud conservative and someone of tremendous character. Our families became close while we were serving together as governors and we are honored to call the Pawlentys dear friends. I know this wasn't an easy decision for Tim and Mary, and I wish them nothing but the best.

"Tim should be proud that he brought to this race ambitious solutions to turn around our nation's economy and to tackle debt and spending. I hope that all of his supporters continue to stay engaged in this defining election and work with us to ensure that our party wins in November."

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson:

-- "Governor Pawlenty's decision to end his campaign is his to make, and I respect that decision.  He and his many supporters have put forth a great effort, and should be applauded for it.  As Republicans survey a new list of candidates today, including the departure of a candidate who is credible, experienced and who had a real record to run on, it is appropriate to question the inflated role of an event like the Ames Straw Poll in the process.  That a pay-to-play gathering in Iowa six months before the first real ballots are cast can be such a qualifying -- or disqualifying -- event is something the media and tens of millions of Republican voters need to think about.  A lot of voices have not been heard yet, and it is far too early for the 'system' to be picking winners and losers.

"If there is a message from Ames, it is that this race is wide open and that the vast majority of Republicans and independents are still looking for the candidate who can win the White House in 2012."

Democratic National Committee Communications Director Brad Woodhouse:

-- "A former two-term governor of a neighboring state, a social conservative, a person who on paper should be everything Republicans should consider in a candidate for president, was run out of the race because he wasn't extreme enough. In the past 72 hours we've seen all the GOP candidates swear allegiance to the Tea Party in a debate, the national front-runner refer to ‘corporations as people,’ the two most extreme candidates in the field -– Tea Party favorites -- come out on top of the Iowa Straw poll and someone once considered among the leading candidates for the nomination drop out of the race because he was not extreme or vitriolic enough for the Tea Party which now owns and operates the GOP. But, while protecting tax breaks for the wealthy and big oil while proposing to end Medicare, slash Social Security and pile additional burdens on the middle class might win plaudits with the Tea Party, it’s not remotely what the American people are looking for."