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2012 Watch: Pawlenty gets praised

From NBC's Mark Murray
Over the last several weeks, we've paid attention to some of the latest moves and statements by Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mark Sanford, and Bobby Jindal. But not so much on Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty -- outside of that never-ending recount in his state.

But conservatives are praising what appears to be Pawlenty's victory in his budget standoff with the Dem-controlled Minnesota legislature. Opines Kimberley Strassel in today's Wall Street Journal: "If Republicans are looking to get back their conservative groove, they could do worse than study Minnesota's budget brawl. Mr. Pawlenty deftly (and amusingly) outmaneuvered his Democratic opposition, not only saving his state from huge tax increases but clearing the way to cut government spending. Call it a refreshing break from the financial-crisis norm."

Next up for Pawlenty, though: that contentious Minnesota recount.