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.