Tim Pawlenty Moves To Top Of Romney VP List

Former Minnesota governor, Tim Pawlenty has moved to the top of Mitt Romney's vice presidential shortlist. Several Romney advisers claim he is the most effective and well liked among those being considered.

This comes as a shock to many, who view Marco Rubio as the better running mate.

Pawlenty didn't even make it past the Iowa straw poll, so what is it that Romney advisers really like about him? Politico reports,

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Pawlenty is strong where Romney is weak — with the regular-guy, working-man connection with voters in casual settings.

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“Pawlenty will walk up and put a supporter in a headlock,” said a Republican consultant who was startled to witness just that. “He provides a nice yin and yang to Romney.”

Several top Republicans said that as the hockey-playing son of a blue-collar worker, and a longtime champion of connecting with what he has called “Sam’s Club Republicans,” Pawlenty would be comfortable campaigning among working-class voters in a way that Romney never will be.

In addition, Pawlenty is an evangelical Christian but is low-key enough about his faith that he doesn’t scare off secular voters. This could help Romney with religious conservatives who may be skeptical of — or even hostile to — his Mormon faith.

One Romney campaign official is quoted as saying, "He's great with conservatives but doesn't scare off women." One has to ask if those two are mutually exclusive.

So what's different about Pawlenty now and when he was attempting his own run in 2011? A former Pawlenty campaign official said, “Frankly, in a lot of ways, he has been able to make the case for Mitt more eloquently than sometimes he made the case for himself."

Politico went on to point out that they see several indicators of a Romney/Pawlenty ticket emerging. They stand by the story concerning Rubio and that they believe Romney thinks the reports of his past in Florida, though blown out of proportion, brings too much controversy. They also don't believe boring is bad, but too boring might be and thus why they think Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) might not work well.

At this point, loyalty seems to be a good fit for Pawlenty and Romney. Pawlenty has been willing to do whatever is asked of him for the campaign. According one Republican, who knows both men well, “They were both moderate Republican governors in blue states who were pushed to the right. There aren’t a lot of people who have had that exact same experience.”

Mitt Romney has his advisers that the final call on the vice-president slot will be his alone, as it should be. However, the only people who are being vetted in this process, again according to Mitt Romney, are Beth Myers and Mitt Romney. Romney stated, "There are only two people in this country who know who are being vetted and who are not, and that’s Beth Myers and myself." With that in mind, it does not stop those in the campaign who are advisers from putting forth what the thoughts of the campaign are from their perspectives.

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