Caucus Countdown: Potential presidential candidates visit Iowa - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Caucus Countdown: Potential presidential candidates visit Iowa

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -- "I'm leaning towards it, but still haven't finalized the announcement."

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty made that statement, just minutes before taking the podium for a lecture series at the University of Iowa on Monday.

Though Pawlenty says this is not a campaign stop for the 2012 presidential election, KWWL political analyst Dr. Jeff Stein tells us the timing of this stop -- one year prior to the Iowa Caucus -- is right on the money.

"We're now to the point where people are very serious about establishing offices in each precinct, about making frequent visits, and about counting down to February 6th, 2012," said Dr. Stein. He told us that four years ago, many candidates had already announced their plans to run and scheduled their visits more than a year before the caucus date. This year, Dr. Stein calls it a "late-arriving crowd."

"The candidates who might be running don't want to declare; they're keeping their powder dry, they say they're not going to decide until the summer, and that means instead of a marathon to the Iowa Caucuses, it's going to be a dead sprint from Labor Day on," Dr. Stein explained.

Pawlenty was tight-lipped Monday about any impending announcements, but did make it clear that he's been doing hands-on work with issues currently at the forefront of national attention.

"Now that the 2010 elections are over, we're continuing to engage in dialogue and issues and supporting candidates and trying to stimulate the debate in that regard," Pawlenty said.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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