Wrestler’s ghostwriter has hand in Pawlenty book

Published 7:54 am Thursday, December 2, 2010

ST. PAUL — Minnesota had a pro wrestler as governor in Jesse Ventura. Now it has a governor with a literary connection to the wrestling world.

For Tim Pawlenty’s upcoming memoir, the Republican governor has tag-teamed with the man who ghost-wrote the autobiography of wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan.

Pawlenty confirmed to The Associated Press that author Mark Dagostino assisted on his book, “Courage to Stand: An American Story.” The book is due out next month as Pawlenty moves toward a decision on a potential 2012 presidential bid.

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Last year, Dagostino was a co-author on Hogan’s book “My Life Outside the Ring,” about the highs and lows of the flamboyant wrestler.

Pawlenty described Dagostino as a collaborator, not a ghost-writer. The two didn’t know each other beforehand and Pawlenty said they sat for “many, many hours” of interviews.

“He didn’t write the book. He wrote drafts and we edited it and wrote parts of it,” Pawlenty said. “He wrote some stuff, we’d ping-pong it back and forth. I wrote a bunch of it.”

The book recounts Pawlenty’s life and offers his personal, professional and political views.

Political memoirs are a ritual in modern presidential campaigns. For lesser known candidates, they offer an unfiltered introduction and usually come with a coast-to-coast book tour.

Pawlenty isn’t the only Republican sizing up a presidential run who is concerned about book sales. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is currently on the road signing her new book, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has a pair of Christmas books out and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney published one last spring.

Pawlenty has said he won’t announce until March whether he’ll try for the White House. But his actions over the last year suggest he’s inclined to run for the GOP nomination.

He spent plenty of time traveling this year, including multiple stops in New Hampshire and Iowa. He also dished out thousands of dollars in contributions to fellow Republicans through his Freedom First political action committee.