Tim Pawlenty -- not catching fire yet in the polls or among GOP donors -- is making a major push in advance of next month's Ames Straw Poll.
And the campaign has released a video to Iowa voters stressing Pawlenty's faith. But the star of the video is Pawlenty's wife, Mary, an evangelical Christian who got Pawlenty -- then a Catholic -- to join her church.
"My parents were the ones who introduced me to the importance of having God in your life and being connected to God through faith and Jesus Christ," she says in the video.
The GOP presidential candidate adds, "Hope is always with us. And our hope is not in these earthly things, but in Jesus Christ." The former Minnesota goes on to say, "We were founded as a nation under God."
As it turns out, Sarah Huckabee -- Mike Huckabee's daughter who's now working for the Pawlenty campaign -- pens the email introducing the video.
Four years ago I worked in Iowa for my dad, Governor Mike Huckabee, when he was running for President. At the time, he was low in the polls and didn’t have much money, but he won the Iowa Caucus because Iowans liked his executive experience, record of results governing a Democratic state, and conservative convictions. Today I’m back in Iowa working for Governor Pawlenty’s campaign because Governor Pawlenty has the same conservative convictions and executive experience I admire in my dad.
Governor Pawlenty's commitment to faith and family is not a product of coaching by campaign consultants. As a devoted husband to Mary and supportive father to Anna and Mara, Governor Pawlenty gets it.
Strikingly, the Pawlenty campaign released this video at the same time as it announced it wouldn't be signing Iowa Family Leader's controversial marriage pledge. Says Pawlenty in a statement:
"I deeply respect, and share, Bob Vander Platts' commitment to promoting the sanctity of marriage, a culture of life, and the core principles of the Family Leader’s Marriage Vow Pledge. However, rather than sign onto the words chosen by others, I prefer to choose my own words, especially seeking to show compassion to those who are in broken families through no fault of their own.
"I respectfully decline to sign the pledge."