Political wags had raised eyebrows earlier this week when it was announced that Gov. Tim Pawlenty would attend the Munich Conference on Security Policy this weekend, a gathering of the world’s top security officials. Because Pawlenty was to be in the company of Sen. John McCain, some suggested Pawlenty was burnishing his international credentials, and that the appearance of the two together on the international stage was indicative of McCain’s interest in Pawlenty as a vice presidential candidate. Pawlenty is a co-chair of the McCain campaign. McCain has since bailed on the trip.
When Pawlenty offhandedly announced his attendance, he said he was invited because of his role as governor and chair of the National Governor’s Association, noting the importance of security to the nation’s governors.
Governors have rarely attended the gathering, and there’s no record of an NGA chair ever attending. According to the conference’s Web site, only one other governor has appeared on the list of participants in the annual conference, a list that dates back only to 1999. Last year, Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah attended the conference. Huntsman is on the NGA’s executive committee.
“That not something we track here,” a spokeswoman for the National Governors Association said this afternoon, when asked how often the chair of the NGA attends the conference.