But the weak showing at the Iowa Straw Poll proved to be too large a blow for the campaign to continue.
Pawlenty this morning again congratulated Bachmann and Paul on their straw poll results, but said it "is a long journey" for the eventual nomination.
"The party is going to be now more broadly discussing who they want for their candidate, not just in Iowa, but in other places around the country," Pawlenty said. "So we don't know what this ultimately will look like.
"We don't know what's the right or wrong nominee. And all of them are going to be tested, and somebody who can thrive in this process will have their meddle tested, and they'll be improved," Pawlenty added. "But I do believe that we're going to have a very good candidate who's going to beat Barack Obama."