“I like Donald Trump….He’s successful. He’s entertaining.” In a Fox & Friends interview this morning, former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty took another shot at GOP presidential co-leader Donald Trump this morning. For the second day in a row, Pawlenty compared Trump (real estate mogul and NBC’s The Apprentice reality star) to Hulk Hogan, (wrestling legend and VH-1′s Hogan Knows Best reality star). No umbrage meant, though.
Today F&F co-anchor Brian Kilmeade asked Pawlenty if an April 9-10 CNN/Opinion Research GOP presidential poll showing him with only 2% support vis-a-vis 19% for front runners Donald Trump and Governor Mike Huckabee was very discouraging to him. In response, Pawlenty declared, “Well, it’s not….In the early months here, you’re gonna see just people who have higher name I.D. doing better in those polls. And, if you threw in, you know, Hulk Hogan or somebody like that, they’d be at the top of the polls, too.”*
In a follow-up question, Kilmeade coolly queried, “Do you put Donald Trump with Hulk Hogan?” Laughing, Pawlenty replied, “No. I just mean in terms of familiarity. I like Donald Trump. I think he’s successful, he entertaining, and he’s gonna bring a lot to the debate…if he runs.”
However, belying Pawlenty’s denial that he was coupling Trump and Hogan together were similar statements that he made last night to Piers Morgan on his eponymous CNN show as reported by Politico. Apparently, using the same talking points, Pawlenty positioned himself as the “serious person who has tackled…[the]…issues” in the middle of a “continuum” with “Mitt Romney…with the most name-ID and money” on one end and people like “Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, or I don’t know, Hulk Hogan” on the other. Like today, he hastily added that he intended “no disrespect.”
Perhaps, just as likely, Trump will take no offense.
*Fox & Friends – 04/13/11 (@ 7:04 a.m. ET)
Update: For Pawlenty’s YouTube vid of his F&F interview, link here.