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In hindsight, Pawlenty regrets quick race pullout

By Brian Bakst
Associated Press / October 10, 2011

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ST. PAUL, Minn.—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty says he might have stayed in the Republican presidential race longer had he known it would be this volatile.

Pawlenty reflected on his decision to drop out after his official state portrait was unveiled Monday night. He left the race in August after finishing third in the Iowa GOP's straw poll in which he says he invested heavily.

Pawlenty says he would have persisted in the race "if I would have known then what I know now." He says his campaign was in debt and lacked, in his words, "additional chips to see the next card in the hand."

He has endorsed former rival Mitt Romney in the race. He says he is pursuing private-sector career options but won't rule out a future political run.