Pawlenty rips Santorum for Romney

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Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is trying to give Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney a boost heading into Tuesday’s precinct caucuses in Minnesota.

Pawlenty held a conference call with reporters today to specifically criticize Rick Santorum, who made a campaign stop earlier in the day in Rochester. Pawlenty highlighted what he described as Santorum’s long history of pork-barrel spending. He said it’s a record that should be concerning to conservatives, who are expected to make up a big share of Republican caucus attendees. Pawlenty predicted a close contest in Minnesota.

“I think Mitt will be competitive,” Pawlenty said.”But it’s hard to tell who’s going to be the person on the top of that pack. Turnout and small variations in turnout can have a big impact when you’re dealing with such a small group of people.”

Pawlenty was scheduled to host a late afternoon get-out-the vote rally for Romney, along with former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Romney was not scheduled to attend the event in Edina. Newt Gingrich has a campaign stop planned tonight in Bloomington.

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