Tim Pawlenty, the pro-life former governor of Minnesota who was the first to drop out of the Republican presidential race following the Iowa Straw Poll, has issued an endorsement today for Mitt Romney, who is seeking the GOP nomination for a second time.
The endorsement has the former governor of a Democratic-leaning state endorsing a candidate whose conservative economic and social issues views are similar to his own. Like Romney, Pawlenty ran a campaign primary focused on attacking pro-abortion President Barack Obama on the state of the economy and the lack of leadership in putting forward ideas to create jobs for Americans who are out of work.
Also, like Pawlenty, Romney is running as a pro-life advocate who has supported overturning Roe v. Wade, de-funding Planned Parenthood, stopping taxpayer funding of abortions and putting judges in place who will respect the Constitution and not make up “abortion rights” from the bench.
“Mitt Romney is fighting for the same things I fought for as governor and during my campaign for president,” Pawlenty said in an email LifeNews received.
“As a former blue state governor, I appreciate what Mitt was able to do in Massachusetts. He created jobs and balanced his budgets without raising taxes – even with an over eighty percent Democrat legislature,” Pawlenty continued. “That ability to get things done is what we need in our nominee. In addition, he has a background which is unmatched – his understanding of the private sector proves he knows how jobs are created which will be critical in turning our economy around. I am proud to endorse his candidacy for president of the United States.”
“But he’s not only a family man, he is a man of principle. He believes in the bedrock conservative ideals of limited government and free enterprise,” he said.
Pawlenty will serve as a national co-chairman for Romney’s campaign, and Romney said he appreciated the endorsement of his former rival.
“It is an honor to have Governor Pawlenty’s support,” Romney said. “Tim will be a trusted adviser as I move forward with my campaign. Tim has always been an advocate for lower taxes, reduced spending, and an environment where jobs can be created. It is an honor to have him serve as Co-Chair to my campaign for the presidency.”
The two governors reportedly met last week to discuss a potential endorsement. Later on, during an appearance on the “Fox And Friends” program, Pawlenty discussed the endorsement further.
The endorsement is slightly surprising given that Pawlenty went after Romney on the health care issue before and during two of the Republican presidential debates — calling Romney’s health care plan in Massachusetts “Obamneycare” for being a precursor to the Obamacare plan that has come under such heavy criticism from conservatives. Pawlenty also expressed frustration with himself after he failed to hit Romney as hard as originally intended.
Pawlenty said Romney is “100 percent dedicated to repealing Obamacare” if elected president and would issue executive orders to give every state a waiver from having to participate in Obamacare.
The endorsement comes ahead of tonight’s CNN/Tea Party Express GOP presidential candidate debate on the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida.
Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, a conservative blog, suspects the endorsement was made to position Pawlenty as a possible Romney running mate.
“So who’s up for a Romney-Pawlenty ticket in November 2012?” he said. “In the 2007-8 cycle, Pawlenty was one of the earliest endorsers of John McCain. I recall interviewing the Governor in February 2007 about his early-adopter position, announced before McCain had even become an official candidate. At the time, there was speculation that Pawlenty had positioned himself for the #2 spot on the ticket, and he apparently stayed on the short list until McCain picked Sarah Palin.”
“This time around, Pawlenty has a more realistic shot at an offer — but he might have appealed to more than just Romney, too. If Perry wins the nomination, he’ll need some regional diversity and a Washington outsider to run with him, just as Romney does. So why not just keep the powder dry, if you’re Pawlenty? In fact, why not wait at least until more towards the end of the debate cycle to make a decision, when it will become a little more clear where the race is heading?” Morrissey asked.
In the television interview, Pawlenty said he would not consider a spot as Romney’s running mate — something many candidates say who ultimately accept such positions.