Pawlenty Drawing More Media Attention On the GOP side, the media is also honing its attention in on a candidate they see as a potential GOP vp pick. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty "rolled out his 'Sam's Club Republican' brand to a national audience Wednesday, making two well-covered speeches calling for a more hopeful message to check recent Democratic electoral gains." Pawlenty "said Republicans must broaden their appeal to a new generation of 'Reagan Democrats' -- the same young and working-class voters being targeted by...Obama. ... 'We want to be the party of Sam's Club, not just the countryInitially, I thought Pawlenty would get the VP nod then I didn't now I think he will again. A couple of reasons. One is he's a safe candidate for McCain. He has a good record on both social and economic issues. He's been a strong supporter life and marriage related issues and fought off efforts to raise taxes in Minnesota, a generally more liberal state, despite significant budget deficits over the years. He's also had executive experience as a governor for 6 years. He's youthful. And critical in the case of John McCain, he's been loyal to McCain and they have a strong personal relationship.
club.' he said." In his "Washington Sketch" column for the Washington Post, Dana Milbank describes Pawlenty as campaigning "actively, if unofficially, to be McCain's mate." Milbank examines Pawlenty's speeches yesterday and concludes, "All in all, a strong audition." The Wall Street Journal reports that as a vice presidential candidate, Pawlenty "could provide several advantages for Sen. McCain's presidential bid. Many conservatives view the governor favorably, or a least with interest. His state, Minnesota, could be in play this year. ... Unlike Sen. McCain, Gov. Pawlenty
also is widely admired in the evangelical community nationally."
I think Mitt Romney is his chief opponent for the position. While Romney can raise more money and has been battle tried in the primaries, he doesn't have a tight relationship with McCain and some evangelicals are anxious about his Mormonism. In a tight race, little things can make a big difference. Pawlenty is in some respects the safer choice for McCain. Pawlenty has also been on the stump for McCain, gaining national experience and his appearance before the National Press Club went well. It will be interesting seeing what happens.
We'll see if I'm right.