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Pawlenty's future unclear after he is passed over again

ST. PAUL - Mitt Romney picked a Midwestern politician for his running mate - U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin - but former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was again passed over.

Tim Pawlenty

ST. PAUL - Mitt Romney picked a Midwestern politician for his running mate - U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin - but former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty was again passed over.

Pawlenty, who many said was the likely Republican vice presidential candidate, told re-porters he is not disappointed because he did not get involved in the Romney campaign to be a running mate. He is appearing in Romney campaign events this weekend and will be on two morning news shows today on behalf of the GOP candidate.

Romney's campaign announced the Ryan decision Saturday.

Pawlenty reacted with a statement: "Congressman Ryan is a respected

leader and a bold thinker


regarding the changes needed to restore America. His selection will also help Gov. Romney win the key swing state of Wisconsin. I am excited about a Romney-Ryan ticket and look forward to doing all I can to help them win this election."

NBC News reports Pawlenty says he accepts the decision.

"I didn't enter this thinking I was going to be the vice presidential candidate, so I'm not disappointed," Pawlenty said. "And I'm excited about his candidacy, and I'm excited about having him be the next president."

This is the second time Pawlenty fell short in the "veepstakes."

In 2008, Sen. John McCain opted for Sarah Palin over Pawlenty, who had been a hard worker for McCain on the campaign trail.

Pawlenty himself ran for president last year, but dropped out about a year ago after a major Iowa trial run showed him short on support.

Ryan, 42, is House Budget Committee chairman and falls in between older traditional Republicans and tea party libertarians who have done well in several states, including dominating the Minnesota delegation to the Republican National Convention.

A political advantage of Ryan is that he could help deliver Wisconsin to Romney. Few, if any, political observers felt Pawlenty could bring Minnesota into the Romney camp.


With Pawlenty out of the vice presidential picture, his political future was not clear.

However, in the run-up to Saturday's announcement, Pawlenty has been much discussed in national political circles.

The just-completed running-mate search was familiar to Pawlenty. Four years ago, Pawlenty and his wife, Mary, were filling out page after page of documents to provide information McCain's presidential campaign wanted from potential running mates.

It was a laborious process that left the then-Minnesota governor in second place to Palin. With that disappointment in mind, after he ended his own presidential campaign last year, Pawlenty repeatedly said he was not interested in going through that again.

However, his tune began to change as he campaigned hard for Romney, sometimes together and sometimes apart. In recent weeks, Pawlenty began dancing around vice presidential questions, but said he would be "honored" to serve Romney.

For many, his flirtations with vice presidential candidacy and his aborted presidential run may be all they know about the 51-year-old son of a South St. Paul laborer.

Pawlenty spent four years as an Eagan City Council member before serving a decade in the Minnesota House, four years as the top Republican.

While the media and many politicians call national candidate Pawlenty boring, that is not how he was seen as House majority leader. In that job, he always was good for a colorful quote.


But as Pawlenty's eyes began wandering toward Washington, his public sense of humor dimmed and he became more careful about what he said.

Democrats, and privately even some Republicans, complained that Pawlenty was more focused on national politics than governing Minnesota.

The Republican governor told Forum Communications in one of his final interviews as governor that he remained connected to his job despite his national political efforts, which he refused to discuss.

"It's a bunch of crap," he said about what he claimed were Democratic-Farmer-Laborite attempts to paint him as a disinterested governor.

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