NPR logo Pawlenty Has Never Lived Beyond 20-Mile Radius

Pawlenty Has Never Lived Beyond 20-Mile Radius

Tim Pawlenty. Spencer Platt/Getty Images hide caption

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Tim Pawlenty.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Of all the Tim Pawlenty facts, one of the most interesting has to be the one at the top of a Wall Street Journal piece by Neil King. Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who is running for the Republican presidential nomination, has not only never lived in another state; he has basically lived in the same part of his state his whole life.

An excerpt:

SOUTH ST. PAUL, Minn.—Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty brings a biographical peculiarity to his quest for the White House. Were he to win, he'd be the first president who had never lived outside his home state.

In fact, Mr. Pawlenty has lived his entire life within a radius of 20 miles, a stark contrast to his more peripatetic Republican rivals and the current president. On the stump, Mr. Pawlenty uses that as a prime selling point. He is the working-class everyman, the son of a truck driver from a hardscrabble town who can win over swing voters in pivotal industrial states.

This is remarkable. Such rootedness to a single place would be a fairly common occurrence in, say, the 18th and 19th centuries.

But people who have the kind of success Pawlenty has — becoming governor of one a large Midwestern state — tend to be a bit more migratory than Pawlenty as they get schooling and establish their careers.

It's interesting that Pawlenty is trying to sell his lack of moving about as a symbolic of his Everyman qualities. A lot of everyday people have lived in different places, like those in the military, for instance.

And, of course, one White House occupant who rose from the common man to become perhaps our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln, was born in Kentucky, raised in Indiana and lived his adult years in Illinois before heading to Washington.