As we all now know, Gov. Tim Pawlenty wasn’t heading to Dayton, Ohio, this morning for the Republican vice-presidential announcement. Instead, he was on Carnes Avenue at the Minnesota State Fair, chatting about swine.
During his weekly radio program on WCCO-AM, the governor expressed neither resentment nor relief that he wasn’t named as Sen. John McCain’s running mate. By the 9 a.m. showtime, he would have known that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was the choice, although most in the audience wouldn’t know for another hour.
He said several times that he didn’t want the show to become political and that he wanted to talk about hog judging — “What makes a good pig, or a great pig? Is it the soft underbelly or the perkiness of the ears, or the way the nose twitches?” he wondered.
But he took two phone calls to start the show and — surprise — neither was pig-related.
A caller from St. Paul asked: How did you sleep last night?
“I slept great,” Pawlenty said. “We went to our daughter’s volleyball game. And they won.”
Pawlenty said he’d had quite a busy day Thursday; he left Denver, where he’d been part of the so-called “Truth Squad” of Republicans challenging the Democrats during the convention there. He canceled some interviews late Thursday and returned home to the Twin Cities but didn’t tip his hand in late interviews.
But later, he did say he’d be at the Fair today, which precluded him from being part of the VP announcement in Ohio.
At the fair, his VP report was simply: “Sen. McCain made his nomination; I’m delighted to be able to be an advocate and supporter of his.”
Another caller applauded the governor’s good work in Minnesota, and asked about his plans for next week’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
“I’m honored to be the governor of Minnesota, and I couldn’t ask for a better state,” he said.
And as for his duties at the RNC:
“My role next week as the host governor is to help make sure things go smoothly. This is a historic moment, and hopefully it will be fun and interesting for everyone, Republicans and Democrats.”
Then it was on to the hog discussion, and he introduced a swine superintendent from the 4-H organization.
When he did, more than half of the that had crowd gathered around the radio booth quickly left.