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Pawlenty in Iraq

Gov. Tim Pawlenty visited Minnesota troops in Iraq Tuesday.

Pawlenty had lunch with troops in Balad and had town hall meetings in Tallil. This marks the 3rd trip for the governor since 2004.

The arrival and trip to the Middle East was not announced. For security reasons, these kinds of trips are not announced in advance. According to the governor’s office, Pawlenty had no public events scheduled for Tuesday.

Pawlenty also traveled with fellow governors from Arizona and Oklahoma. They met with Gen. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

The Star Tribune reported that Pawlenty also made a stop in Washington, D.C., where the three governors meet with Condoleeza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Gen. Peter Pace (Chairman of the Join Chiefs of Staffs).

The Pioneer Press reported that Pawlenty planned to travel to Iraq after learning that 2,600 Minnesotans in the 1st Brigade Combat team had their tours in Iraq extended. The troops were originally supposed to come home this month.

The rest of Pawlenty’s trip hasn’t been disclosed. The trip was also kept secret until this morning. He is expected to return to Minnesota sometime this weekend.