Reporting Esme Murphy
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – You could say former Governor Tim Pawlenty was left at the alter four years ago when John McCain bypassed him for the number two spot on the GOP ticket, choosing instead Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
But the Pawlenty VP buzz is back big time – with the influential website Politico even naming him as the frontrunner for the job.
So how is the former governor handling the speculation the second time around?
“I have indicated that I could probably best serve Gov. Romney as a volunteer or as a surrogate speaker where Gov. Romney can’t go,” Pawlenty said on “Face the Nation.” “I have encouraged people who have asked this question in the campaign to look at other prospects, but obviously anyone who would be asked to serve in a position like that would be honored to be asked.”
Professor Larry Jacobs, who teaches at the University of Minnesota, said Sunday that Pawlenty is, no doubt, a serious contender for the job. However, he doesn’t have it in the bag.
“I think it’s more likely that we are going to see a Washington insider who knows there way around Capitol Hill: someone like Sen. Rob Portman from Ohio, rather than someone who looks a lot like Mitt Romney,” Jacobs said.
Ohio is big in terms of strategy in the presidential race. Many analysts say with the race as close as it is, Romney will have to choose someone from a swing state like Portman, or Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.
But VP candidates in recent years have not always delivered their home states, and as John McCain showed in 2008, a nominee’s choice for the number two spot can defy the conventional wisdom.