"Its a party that has experienced a lot of setbacks, is facing a lot of challenge," the governor said. Last week, Pawlenty announced he would not seek a third term as governor, setting off speculation about a 2012 presidential bid.
Pawlenty said he was "going to try to lend voice in Minnesota and elsewhere about the future of the Republican Party, and if that that gets some traction great, if not, that's okay too." He reiterated his comment following his announcement that he will not run again that he does not know what his future holds.
Schieffer invited the governor to announce his candidacy on the webcast – and got a quick "no" in response.
The "Washington Unplugged" host also asked Pawlenty why he feels his party needs "some improving and defining."
"Because we are getting our tails kicked in elections," Pawlenty said. "One definition of success in politics is do you win."
The governor, who was discussed as a possible running mate for then-candidate John McCain in the 2008 presidential election, said he feels his party needs to start pushing an optimistic message.
"Some things that I would like to talk about on behalf of the Republican party is the need to be positive and hopeful and optimistic," he said. "I think people want to follow that kind of leadership as opposed to negative and cynical and demeaning."
Pawlenty also indicated that in order to reach a larger demographic, Republicans need new ideas. He said "no" when Schieffer asked if he feels the party is reaching out to younger voters. (The governor is in town to speak to the College Republicans convention.)
Pawlenty was critical of President Obama's policies, saying they "are going to viewed in historical terms as having been horribly misdirected for the country." He said that the administration's economic policy will "come back and haunt us…in very dramatic ways."
Hear what else the governor had to say below on this week's edition of "Washington Unplugged." Also featured are a roundtable on President Obama's Cairo speech and a discussion with "Renegade: The Making of a President" author Richard Wolfe.