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Pawlenty Praises Obama?

Perhaps in a lesson in how not to position oneself for a vice presidential selection, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty had words of praise for Democratic Barack Obama in a speech to conservative activists in the Washington area today.

Speaking to the GOPAC, Pawlenty said, "say what you will about Barack Obama … people gravitate when you have something positive to say." Pawlenty added that John McCain has also been positive thus far, according to the AP. "People want to follow hopeful, optimistic, civil, decent leaders," Pawlenty continued. "They don't want to follow some negative, scornful person."

Pawlenty has been high on the list of names being speculated about as possible running mates for McCain (he's currently ranked 2nd on our GOP VP Hot Sheet). But traditionally, one of the primary tasks for the running mate is to spearhead criticism of the opposition and anything that resembles praise could be an impediment to that (can't you just see the Obama ad using Pawlenty's words?) Another primary requirement for a running mate is the ability to stay on a message and this may be seen as Pawlenty stepping off of it a bit.