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Pawlenty to address RNC Wednesday night

The former Minnesota governor and presidential candidate will speak before vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

The former Minnesota governor and presidential candidate has been one of  presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s favorite surrogates since Pawlenty endorsed him last September. For the second straight election, the Republican presidential nominee considered Pawlenty for a spot on his ticket; for the second straight convention, he’ll address the gathered delegates as merely a supporter, instead.

Pawlenty will speak during the 8 p.m. hour, a bit after fellow vice presidential short-lister Ohio Sen. Rob Portman. The night’s headliner is the man who got the job, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan. Though the House Budget Committee chairman is famous with Republicans for his wonkish approach to budgetary issues, look for a speech “likely to be heavy on personality and lighter on policy,” according to the AP.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was the keynote speaker on Tuesday night’s program, but would-be First Lady Ann Romney stole the show, telling a personal tale of her life and her marriage. The Times recaps:

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“This man will not fail. This man will not let us down. This man will lift up America,” she told the Republican National Convention to a series of sustained ovations, capped by the emergence of Mitt Romney from behind the stage for a quick, chaste kiss and the nominee’s first acknowledgment of the convention.

Mrs. Romney used her prime-time speech to try to take some of the sheen off her husband’s glossy image and to humanize Mr. Romney with the very real struggles he has faced with determination and inevitable success.

“I read somewhere that Mitt and I have a ‘storybook marriage,’” she said. “Well, in the storybooks I read, there were never long, long rainy winter afternoons in a house with five boys screaming at once. And those storybooks never seemed to have chapters on M.S. or breast cancer.”

“A storybook marriage? Nope, not at all,” she said. “What Mitt Romney and I have is a real marriage.”

But despite her pledge to avoid politics and speak to the nation about love, Mrs. Romney hit most of the themes that her husband and his party have used to best President Obama: a flailing economy; struggling Americans, especially women; and a choice voters must make between failure and something new.

“We’re too smart to know there aren’t easy answers, but we’re not dumb enough to accept that there aren’t better answers,” she said.

Delegates formally nominated Romney on Tuesday, giving him 2,061 of the 2,263 votes available. Ron Paul picked up most of the rest, including 33 from Minnesota. Romney secured six of the state’s 40 votes. 

The results were a testament to the organizing strength of the Paul supporters, who swept through many of the state’s local political conventions and sent a huge contingency of supporters to Tampa, despite Paul finishing second in the state’s non-binding February caucuses.

The winner of the caucuses, Rick Santorum, received the final vote from the Minnesota delegation, and it came from a familiar source: Bill Batchelder, the owner of the Bemidji-based factory that churned out Santorum’s famed sweater vests during his presidential run.

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