Is Tim Pawlenty having trouble raising cash?
A source close to the former Minnesota governor's campaign tells The Washington Post's Amy Gardner that at least five of Pawlenty's top aides have been working for little to no pay since he launched his 2012 bid.
Pawlenty strategists Phil Musser and Jon Lerner, as well as advisers Sara Taylor Fagan, Terry Nelson and Brian Hook, are each making no more than $1,000 a month—with some aides taking nothing.
"This isn't 'We're broke and we can't afford to pay you,' " the unnamed source tells the Post. "We're raising exactly what we said we were going to raise. We're paying our consultants exactly what they expected to be paid right now."
But the campaign does admit Pawlenty has seen a dip in his fund-raising since his widely panned performance at last week's CNN debate in New Hampshire.
Word of the campaign's diminished cash haul appears to have been deliberately leaked ahead of Pawlenty's first fund-raising disclosure, which is due at the Federal Election Commission early next month.
Mitt Romney is expected to far outpace his GOP rivals, amid rumors suggesting he's aiming to raise at least $40 million by June 30, the second quarter fund-raising deadline. But all eyes will be on the cash totals posted by his Republican opponents, who are competing to be an alternative to Romney.
If Pawlenty's camp is already seeking to lower expectations, that's not a good sign for his 2012 bid.
(Photo of Pawlenty and a supporter: Jim Cole/AP)