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The Pluses and Minuses of Gov. Anonymous

The Fix can make a good case for Tim Pawlenty being the GOP veep candidate -- and just as good a case against it.
The Fix can make a good case for Tim Pawlenty being the GOP veep candidate -- and just as good a case against it. (By Jennifer Simonson -- Associated Press)

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By Chris Cillizza And Ben Pershing
Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Fix's mom always wanted us to be a lawyer. And, while law school is not in the cards, we have always been interested in arguing both sides of a case, especially when it comes to politics.

So throughout the summer months, we'll be arguing for (and against) the prospects of the most-mentioned potential vice presidents on both sides of the aisle.

This week, we tackled Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who is widely regarded as an early favorite to be Sen. John McCain's second in command but is largely unknown outside his home state of Minnesota.

First, the case for Pawlenty:

· Up From His Bootstraps In a party long viewed as being controlled by affluent elites, Pawlenty's decidedly blue-collar background puts an entirely different face on what it means to be a Republican. His mother died when he was a teenager, and his father drove a truck. Pawlenty was the first member of his family to graduate from college. He has pledged to expand the Republican Party to "Sam's Club, not just the country club."

· A Good Soldier Twice in the last decade, Pawlenty pulled back from statewide races at the behest of national party leaders -- for governor in 1998, for Senate in 2002 -- in favor of now-Sen. Norm Coleman (R). Pawlenty's willingness to shelve his own ambitions "for the good of the party" works in his favor in the veepstakes. He's proved he can wait his turn, excellent training for a vice president.

· Bridging the Evangelical Gap Pawlenty could well provide a solution to the chasm separating McCain and evangelical voters without alienating crucial moderates and independent voters. Pawlenty and his wife, Mary, are very close to Leith Anderson, pastor of their church in Eden Prairie, Minn., and the current head of the National Association of Evangelicals. "If [Pawlenty] were chosen, it would reverberate with the 30 million members of those churches almost instantaneously and very publicly," said Vin Weber, a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.

And now the case against Pawlenty:


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