VP Pawlenty Watch: McCain team thinks T-Paw can deliver Minnesota AND Wisconsin
John McCain came to town on a fundraising bender yesterday, bringing him face to face with our hero, VP frontrunner Tim Pawlenty. The AP's lede in USA Today reflect the middle school dance overtones of the courtship:
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Republican John McCain made no secret of his regard for Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty during a visit to the state on Thursday, saying Pawlenty has "a very big place in the future of the Republican Party."
But McCain wouldn't say whether that place would include a spot on his ticket.
Meanwhile, US News is reporting that a source within the McCain campaign says the the vetting squad is focusing on T-Paw and believes he can deliver Minnesota and Wisconsin to the Republicans.
We may be at the flavor-of-the week point in the vice presidential sweepstakes, but that flavor right now for Team McCain is the environment-loving, hockey-playing governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty. That tidbit is courtesy of a high-ranking McCain campaign official and reflects what I've been hearing of late among GOP activists. (John McCain is in the Twin Cities today for a town hall meeting and a fundraiser.)
Internal McCain polls show that adding Pawlenty, 47, to the ticket would help McCain win not only Minnesota but also the neighboring state of Wisconsin. Both are close swing states. In 2004, John Kerry beat President Bush by 3.48 percentage points in Minnesota and 0.38 percentage point in Wisconsin. In 2000, Al Gore beat Bush by 2.4 points in Minnesota and 0.22 in Wisconsin.
In light of this news, however divorced from reality it may be, the CP Home Office is raising the VP Pawlenty Meter to Orange Alert: