Pawlenty: VP slot would be “difficult to turn down.”

Gov. Pawlenty was on Fox News Sunday this morning. (UPDATE: Transcripts just went out. Here’s Part 1. Here’s Part 2.)

Pawlenty appeared as a surrogate to John McCain (which means praise John McCain and bash Barack Obama).

Pawlenty was asked about his VP credentials. He repeated his familiar talking points with a new twist saying it would be difficult to turn it down:

“I don’t have any designs on being vice-president. If somebody came to me and said that, of course I would be honored to be mentioned, honored to be asked and it would be difficult to turn that down but I don’t have any designs and it’s not why I’m such a great and strong supporter of Senator McCain.”

Fox News Sunday Host Chris Wallace: “But both of you (Pawlenty and VA Gov. Tim Kaine) , in effect, are saying that if you were asked you would say yes.”

Pawlenty: “Well, it’s all just speculation Chris and I’m not going to get involved in speculation.”

This isn’t a surprise since there has been lots and lots of talk about Pawlenty being VP. He started to wiggle on this in May after saying in 2006 that he would serve a full term if reelected. He repeated in 2007 that he doesn’t want to be vice president.

Question(s) of the day: What are Pawlenty’s chances? What will happen in Minnesota if he’s on the ticket?

UPDATE: The national press is also starting to scrutinize Pawlenty. A new profile of Pawlenty in The New Republic brings up Pawlenty’s 2002 work as a consultant for a telecom company. The reporter also adds that Pawlenty engineered the infamous 2002 Dick Cheney call that prompted Pawlenty to move from U.S. Senate candidate to candidate for governor.

As the story goes, no less an eminence than Dick Cheney called Pawlenty the morning of his campaign announcement and asked him to step aside. Less well-known is that the call, according to people close to the situation, was engineered by Pawlenty himself–and that there were no plans for an announcement. After the White House privately threw its weight behind Coleman, Pawlenty negotiated the dramatic call as a kind of consolation prize. He reasoned that a personal plea from such a high-profile Republican would demonstrate that Washington took him seriously.

  • Ted

    Still seems that McCain can SIMULTANEOUSLY best attract both Hillary AND Bob Barr voters with ALASKA GOV SARAH PALIN as Veep.

  • Bill Prendergast

    Pawlenty’s name was being kicked around by top evangelical political leaders at a “closed to the public” conference of the Council for National Policy some years back. Doesn’t mean that Pawlenty is an “evangelical” candidate (in the sense that Mike Huckabee or President Bush was); it means that he’s acceptable to at least some of the more important leaders of that particular political movement.

    Still–I can’t see Pawlenty adding millions of votes to the McCain total this fall. Huckabee could. If McCain is seriously considering Pawlenty instead of just stringing him along–then McCain is extremely confidant that he can beat Obama without the zealous support of the CNP and the evangelical political movement. Victory without their support is possible, if GOP and conservative character assassination against Obama and his supporters this summer can (by themselves) panic the right wing voters into action and scare the middle.

    If this is what the McCain campaign believes, then TP has a chance of being veep. You can see why it would appeal to TP (or to any amoral careerist): the chances are strong that McCain’s age and the stresses of the presidency will kill him in office if he’s elected. Being nominated to be President McCain’s vice president is truly the inside track on unelected the presidency. It is unlikely that a politician as banal and blatantly opportunistic as TP could ever be elected president, but being McCain’s veep is indeed a shortcut into the Oval Office.

    If you think that GOP politicians could not possibly be this calculating and ghoulish, you have not been paying attention to the continuing story of how we got into Iraq.

    The second question is: what will happen to Minnesota if Pawlenty is on the ticket?

    That’s not a very good question, is it? I mean–don’t you think we’d manage to survive without him around, somehow? It’s not like he ever cared about what happened to the people of Minnesota; the effect of his departure here would be about as dramatic as the removal and replacement of a street light in St. Paul.

  • ginsoaked

    Great analysis Prendergrast! The biggest joke was when Pawlenty said at the Repub convention that it’s hard to compete with Democrats because we are giving things away. Huh? Last I checked it was the Republicans who want something for nothing, like roads but no taxes, bridges but no taxes, schools and universites but no taxes, police protection but no taxes, safe drinking water but no taxes, war but no taxes…

  • Bill Prendergast

    Thanks, ginsoaked!

    Wait a minute…ginsoaked?

  • Ted

    Pawlenty is simply not gonna cut it. To win, McCain needs Sarah Palin as his veep-mate.

    I do believe that Palin will get the nod.

    McCain/Palin ’08