Stateline Story

Branstad Disputes Claim That He Backs Pawlenty in 2012

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad is already the subject of furious speculation when it comes to next year's race for the White House, and Branstad isn't even running.

Instead, the recently inaugurated Republican is pushing back against a report from Washington Post columnist David Broder that he has already made up his mind in the presidential campaign. Broder reported that Branstad "is generally counted" as a supporter of Tim Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor who is widely believed to be running.

Broder's report is " 100 percent inaccurate ," Branstad aides told The Des Moines Register , underscoring that the governor is staying neutral for now.

Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses are less than a year away, and Branstad's endorsement is seen as critical to the already crowded field of potential Republican candidates.