Appearing on “America’s Newsroom” on Fox News on Tuesday, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty talked up U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to be Mitt Romney’s running mate.
Having come close to ending up on the 2008 ticket as John McCain’s running mate, Pawlenty, who had been in the Republican presidential race before pulling out after a disappointing third-place finish in the Iowa GOP straw poll in August, insisted he has no interest in being paired up with Romney.
After pulling the plug on his own bid, Pawlenty endorsed Romney, the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination.
“I’ve taken my name off the list for vice president, so we should talk about Marco Rubio and the other great possibilities that Mitt Romney will have,” Pawlenty told Fox News. “Look, when you put up Mitt Romney and whoever he picks against President Obama and his failed leadership and his failed economy, I think that ticket on the Romney side is going to do very, very well. I’ve taken my name off the list.”
Pawlenty added that his experience in 2008 -- when he was considered to be John McCain’s running mate before losing out to Sarah Palin -- was one reason he did not want to be considered by Romney.
“I’ve been down that road before in 2008 with John McCain and I was honored to be considered and vetted as part of that process, but I’m not going to go down that road this time,” Pawlenty said. “I’m not going to consider that. I’ve taken my name off the list and I think I can help Mitt Romney in other ways as a volunteer and serve his campaign as a volunteer and I am happy to do that. He’s going to have a lot of great choices.”
Pawlenty also praised Rubio, the freshman senator whose name is constantly brought up as a potential running mate for Romney.
“I think he’s going to be on everybody’s list, all the pundits’ lists, people who follow this, for good reason,” Pawlenty said. “He’s a very capable individual, a very gifted individual, he’s got a compelling American story, he’s incredible on policy. He comes from a big state with a lot of electoral votes from the swing state of Florida. So for all those reasons and more, he is, of course, going to be on everybody’s list of potential VP candidates and one of the leading candidates.”
Rubio, who has also endorsed Romney and campaigned with him in Pennsylvania on Monday, has continually said in recent weeks that he has no interest in being on the ticket.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.