The Ticket

Tim Pawlenty is the clear front-runner…on YouTube

Chris Moody
The Ticket

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(William B. Plowman/AP)

Tim Pawlenty may be lagging in the polls, but when it comes to getting hits on YouTube, the former Minnesota governor is crushing the competition.

Pawlenty's YouTube page surpassed one million views this week, a couple hundred thousand more than any other candidate in the race.

His campaign's emphasis on multimedia—with dramatic videos of the candidate delivering passionate speeches amid a backdrop of iconic Americana—is paying off.

Despite the impressive online audience, Pawlenty still regularly falls below six percent in most polls.

One of his first videos, called "Courage to Stand," feels more like a Michael Bay action flick than a presidential push. It includes images from spaceships, fighter jets speeding across the sky, and even a shot of a handshake with the sound of a bunker-busting missile explosion in the background.

In March, comedian Stephen Colbert featured Pawlenty's video on his Comedy Central show. "Tim Pawlenty might not be running for president of the United States," Colbert said, "but he's clearly running for president of the next Transformers movie."

Herman Cain's YouTube channel isn't far behind, with more than 800,000 total uploads. Mitt Romney, the GOP front-runner, trails with 722,000.

The action-packed videos are produced by 22-year-old Lucas Baiano, the mind behind Arizona Sen. John McCain's infamous Barack-Obama-is-a-lot-like-Britney-Spears "celebrity" ad back in 2008. The celebrity video was McCain's biggest hit, with more than two million views.

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