The Washington Post

Tim Pawlenty: I’m ‘not disappointed’ Romney didn’t pick me

Former Minnesota Republican governor Tim Pawlenty says he is “not disappointed” that Mitt Romney did not select him as his vice presidential running mate, and called Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a “terrific” nominee.

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty (R) speaks at the Iowa Straw Poll in August 2011. (Scott Olson/GETTY IMAGES)

“I didn’t support Governor Romney because I expected to be vice president, so I’m not disappointed. I didn’t get something I didn’t expect, but it’s a great ticket, it’s a terrific pick by Governor Romney, and Congressman Ryan, as you’ve already seen, is bringing energy to the ticket, “ said Pawlenty, speaking on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

Pawlenty echoed the praises other Republicans showered on Ryan Sunday morning news shows. He defended Ryan’s controversial budget proposal which would transform Medicare into a voucher system for Americans under 55 — a document which is likely to be a central issue in the fall campaign.

“Congressman Ryan and Governor Romney have put together a plan that actually tackles the problem in specific, preserves Medicare and other programs for people who are already on the program, but begins to change it in needed and realistic ways for the next generation, “ said Pawlenty.

Obama adviser David Axelrod went directly after Ryan’s proposal on ”This Week,” saying, “by turning it into a voucher program, throwing seniors onto the tender mercies of the private insurance market and capping growth the way they do, ultimately they are going to shift thousands of dollars onto the backs of seniors, and Medicare itself will be in a death spiral.”

Romney is in the midst of a swing state bus tour and is stumping in North Carolina with Ryan on Sunday. But while he will move from there to Ohio and Florida, Ryan will be campaigning in Iowa on Monday. Pawlenty appeared for Romney in New Hampshire on Saturday.

In an interview with National Journal last week, Axelrod said if he were in Romney’s shoes, he would have selected Pawlenty as his running mate. He called Pawlenty an “able candidate” on Sunday.

“I told David off air, I said I was reminded of the old phrase, ‘get off my side,’ because I don’t think that helped,” Pawlenty said jokingly on ”This Week.”

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.


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