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Minnesota governor may be funny, but he's no 'SNL' alum. Uffdah!

In the state of Sen. Al Franken, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is eying a run for president in 2012, goes for the guffaws as he defines local lingo for visiting President Obama.

October 23, 2010|By Michael Muskal

Imagine Homer Simpson getting punched in the stomach while eating a doughnut. The sound he makes would be oof-d'oh.

Or in Minnesota, it would be "uffdah," a common exclamation that Gov. Tim Pawlenty tried to explain to President Obama in a video posted Saturday.

Ostensibly, Republican Pawlenty was playing Noah Webster by defining the local lingo to Obama, who went to Minnesota for a political rally designed to build enthusiasm among Democrats in the midterm election.

If this sounds like simple Americana, good-neighbor stuff, think again. Pawlenty is eying a run for president in 2012, and the purpose of the video was to allow the outgoing governor to make his political points in a different kind of way.

So in explaining "uffdah," an expression as common as lutefisk in Minnesota, Pawlenty noted:

“If you wanted to use it in a sentence, it would be like ‘You said unemployment would stay below 8%, and now it's almost 10 -- uffdah!'“

There are also local customs, said the governor, who used them to push his opposition to Obama’s healthcare insurance overhaul.

 “Minnesotans don't like to offend people by coming right out and saying no, so instead they say ‘Eh, not so much.' Like if you asked Minnesotans ‘Do you like the federal take over of the healthcare system?' They might say ‘eh, not so much,'“ Pawlenty said.

While Pawlenty displayed flashes of humor, he is on a tough stage. One of Minnesota’s U.S. senators is Al Franken, who used to do comedy for a living.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesmuskal

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