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Pawlenty one of two ‘realistic finalists’ in McCain’s VP search, Washington Post says

A Washington Post explainer today looks deeply into Sen. John McCain’s vice-presidential choice last fall, and Gov. Tim Pawlenty features prominently.

The article was adopted from the book “The Battle for America 2008: The Story of an Extraordinary Election,” by Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson.

By late August, the authors say, Pawlenty was one of two “realistic finalists,” Sarah Palin being the other, even though most in the media figured it was Pawlenty and Mitt Romney.

Say the authors:

Pawlenty was young and vigorous, a conservative who had grown up in a blue-collar family — his father was a truck driver — and he was anti-abortion. He had won reelection in the Democratic year of 2006 and was seen as a future leader of the GOP, an advocate of modernizing the party without abandoning its conservative principles. Though not particularly flashy, he was seen as a more than credible choice, a running mate who might keep the Upper Midwest competitive. He was the safe choice if Palin faltered.

An adviser told McCain he:

needed to scramble the race; Palin’s profile would reestablish his reform image; Pawlenty was credible and acceptable, but once the convention was over he would disappear. 

Another adviser argued that:

Palin was untested nationally and a high risk. He also said that, for all the talk about “country first” in his campaign, McCain could be accused of making a political choice designed only to help him win the election, not enhance his ability to govern. Pawlenty, he argued, was solid, had an attractive biography, and could talk to both the Republican base and swing voters.

After hearing those two sides, he offered the job to Palin.

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Peter Nickitas on 08/05/2009 - 07:30 pm.

    In my opinion, to Senator McCain, Governor Palin was a blind date for June Week who went bad.

    June Week is the week at the Naval Academy, Sen. McCain’s alma mater, that culminates in graduation and commissioning. The week features a number of formal dances, including the Ring Dance on Saturday night for juniors, when they receive their class rings formally.

    A blind date is a risky proposition any time. A blind date for a week of formal dances is very risky.

    The rewards of a blind date who wows one’s friends and classmates is enticing. And there have been blind dates that led to weddings and happy lives.

    Gov. Palin came with good recommendations from people Sen. McCain trusted. She looked good from afar. She looked even better in person. She made a good first impression at the convention. Then Katie Couric interviewed her. Then she debated Senator Biden. Then Tina Fey out-Palined Gov. Palin. The blind date went sour.

    In contrast to Governor Palin, Governor Pawlenty presents a dangerous adversary for Pres. Obama. He destroyed the good work of three generations of governors from four parties in six years, and poses a real threat to Pres. Obama. He has the gratitude of Republicans nationwide. Powerbrokers in the shadows groom him for actions beyond Minnesota. Observe the number of foreign trips and missions with military themes. He will have much support between now and 2012.

    In spite of this reality, Governor Pawlenty is a chicken hawk who played hockey. He is destroying the ladder his father climbed to place the five Pawlenty children on a comfortable basis. He is destroying the Minnesota judiciary one dollar at a time. He is stealing bread and Torah from Minnesotans, in the name of Mammon.

    The DFL had no coherent opposition in this past legislative session that ended in a tyrannical budget. I do not know what deficit is greater amongst leading DFLers — a lack of brains, a lack of vision, or a lack of guts — but they are lacking something that enables Gov. Pawlenty to proceed.

    Gov. Pawlenty does have one other matter in common with Gov. Palin. He is resigning his governorship, too — only in slow motion.

    G-d holds everyone accountable for their actions and omissions. The question remains whether Americans will help G-d hold Governor Pawlenty accountable.

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