Pawlenty’s Statement That He’ll Certify Franken Doesn’t Really Change Much

A lot of talk is going around about Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s (R-MN) statement on CNN yesterday that he would sign a certificate of election for Al Franken. But in fact, nothing new was said here — he reaffirmed stuff he’s said before, that he’ll sign a certificate under the orders of the state Supreme Court, but if a federal court intervenes to stop him then he will follow that order, too:

“Well, a federal court could stay or put a limit on or stop the effect of the state court ruling. If they chose, if they do that, I would certainly follow their direction,” said Pawlenty. “But if that doesn’t happen promptly or drags out for any period of time, then we need to move ahead with signing this, particularly if I’m ordered to do that by the state court.”

The big question here is whether Pawlenty is playing a wink-wink, nudge-nudge of subtly encouraging such a federal challenge, or if he’s simply saying that he’ll follow court orders while also laying out the potential permutations that can happen. His tone in this particular interview maybe seemed a bit more in favor of the second option than last time. But there’s only one way to find out what will actually happen.