Sarah Palin's announcement last Friday that she will resign as Alaska's governor touched off a weekend of speculation about the Republican party's presidential hopefuls in 2012.
Along with Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is often mentioned as a top contender for the nomination. It's believed Pawlenty was also on Sen. John McCain's short list for a running mate last year. That position eventually went to Palin.
Of course neither governor has announced plans to make a run for the top spot on the GOP ticket, but Palin's surprise announcement has fueled comparisons of some of the possible candidates.
Tom Crann asked Washington University political scientist Steven Smith for his take on Palin and Pawlenty. He told me Palin's announcement surprised him as much as other political junkies.