Is Pawlenty showing renewed interest in vice presidency?

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, thanks former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for his endorsement during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C., Monday, Sept. 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Bruce Smith) Bruce Smith

Mitt Romney, left, thanks Tim Pawlenty for his endorsement during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C., Sept. 12, 2011.
Bruce Smith
Less than a month after declaring he should be taken off the list of potential vice presidential picks, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty appears to be eager to get back on the list.

Pawlenty, who is national co-chair of Mitt Romney's campaign, told reporters in a Friday conference call organized by the Republican National Committee that he believes he can best serve Romney in other ways, but that "obviously anybody would be honored to serve [as vice president] if asked."

When asked whether this represented a change in position, Pawlenty said he's always been consistent. "I told people previously 'take me off the list' because I think I can best serve in other ways, but I added the sentence 'but obviously if asked anybody would be honored to serve' and I think that's what got some of the press attention," he said. "I didn't mean it as a fundamental shift; I still feel I can best serve him in other ways but just noted that if asked, anybody, including me, would be honored to serve."

Of the Republicans who have received the most speculation about becoming Romney's running mate, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman would seem to be the closest competitor to Pawlenty. Both men have less-than-dynamic personalities and would not be prone to upstaging Romney, but if Romney is looking to distance himself from the George W. Bush administration, Pawlenty does not have Portman's close ties to the Bush White House.

  • Matthew Shelley

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