WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Norm Coleman will back Tim Pawlenty for president, picking the former governor over a field that also might include Rep. Michele Bachmann, whom Coleman described today as a “very close friend.”
Coleman as a Pawlenty backer isn’t exactly new, he’s been saying nice things about Pawlenty’s presidential aspirations since at least 2009. But with Bachmann now seriously exploring a bid, the question of who he’ll back was inevitable.
Here’s what he told National Journal’s Hotline On Call:
“I’ve been on the Tim bandwagon for a while,” Coleman said. “In the last cycle I said he’d be a great president … and I’ve been consulting on and off with him since.”
But Coleman said he’s also spoken with Bachmann about her plans and “what’s in her heart.” The possibility that both the congresswoman and Pawlenty will make a White House bid presents a dilemma for him.
“I’ve got one guy that’s in and another very close friend who’s thinking about being in,” Coleman said. “At this point, I am there with Tim, but I have only good things to say about Michele Bachmann.”
Coleman’s choice seems to mirror that of most national Minnesota Republicans who have endorsed to this point. Current Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen have endorsed Pawlenty, and former Rep. Vin Weber is a leading adviser in Pawlenty’s campaign. Rep. Chip Cravaack, the only person not yet committed, has yet to endorse but is considering Pawlenty.