N2K Presidential: The Case for Pawlenty

National Journal Staff
National Journal

In an election where President Obama consistently bests Mitt Romney on measures of likability and empathy, it couldn't hurt Romney—the Mormon son of an auto executive-turned-governor—to pick someone who has more in common with the average voter than he does.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is that guy.

Pawlenty’s father was a truck driver who took him to work to help with odd jobs. His mother was a homemaker who died of cancer when Pawlenty was a teenager. Not long after, his father was laid off and young Tim took a job at the local grocery store that would help put him through college; he was the first member of his family to attend.

Moreover, Pawlenty’s down-to-earth persona has served him well in selling Republican policies to voters with middling or low incomes over the objections of Democrats, who say those same policies would hurt them. That is where he could be truly valuable to Romney.

Vice President Joe Biden, who grew up in blue-collar Scranton, Pa., has been Obama’s ambassador to blue-collar voters. Were Romney to pick Pawlenty, there would be a certain symmetry to the Democratic and Republican tickets. At the top, the reserved man with the nontraditional story—and next to him, the partner you might just want to share a beer with. Read more

—Rebecca Kaplan


Clash of the Attack Ads
[National Journal, 8/9/12] Mitt Romney on Thursday took umbrage at what he called inaccurate and misleading ads run by the Obama campaign and an allied super PAC, even as his own campaign continues to run an attack ad that has been deemed “pants on fire” false by a fact-check organization.

Obama Ad: Romney Oversaw 'Fictitious' Tax Losses for Marriott NEW! 
[National Journal, 8/9/12] The ad, which will run in swing states Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio starting next week, urges the presumptive Republican nominee to “come clean” about his tax returns. Then it moves into new territoryrooted in a recent op-ed by tax lawyers Peter Canellos and Edward Kleinbard.

The Pros and Cons of Romney's Top Four Veep Prospects
[National Journal, 8/9/12] As the Republican convention draws near, speculation is mounting about whom Romney will select as his running mate. Four men are viewed as topping the short list, each with distinctive strengths and weaknesses- here is a breakdown.

Widening Racial Chasm a Problem for Both Parties NEW!                     
[National Journal, 8/9/12] Four years ago, Obama won a combined 80 percent among all nonwhite voters—including African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and others. Almost all surveys this year show him positioned to equal, or slightly exceed, that dominant performance.

New Romney Ad Accuses Obama of 'War on Religion'

[National Journal, 8/9/12] The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee accuse Obama of conducting a “war on religion,” pointing to the president’s health care overhaul as a threat to religious freedom. But the spot steers clear of specifically addressing the real issue, which is contraception policy.

Poll: Republicans Want Rubio for Vice President
[National Journal, 8/9/12] A plurality of Republicans want Romney to choose Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida as his running mate, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll. Most of the possible "veepstakes" candidates do not have the profile to alter the race immediately, with the possible exception of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is well-known and well-liked, according to the poll.

Romney Should Think Before Tapping Taxing Tim Pawlenty for VP NEW!
[Forbes, 8/9/12] Tim Pawlenty ran a state, Minnesota, which remains behind the growth curve and has high marginal tax rates. Making Pawlenty look like a bad choice, Minnesota's government doesn't have the best history when it comes to taxes. 

Obama Camp Picks at Possible Romney VP Choices NEW!
[Associated Press, 8/9/12] Obama and Democrats have already started to scuff up Romney's possible running mates, regardless of who is actually chosen. The campaign has something negative to say about almost all of them, which are quite the opposite of what Republicans have to say.

US Republicans' Convention Will Be No Tea Party NEW!
[Reuters, 8/10/12] A Tea Party celebration should not be expected at the GOP Convention in Tampa this year. They are not preparing much and with Romney's nomination, their focus has shifted away from the presidential race and more towards congressional and state elections.

From Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin to Mini-Mitt: What the Veep Choice Will Reveal
[The New Yorker, 8/9/12] George H.W. Bush's choice of Dan Quayle and John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin did not really have any impact. The New Yorker's John Cassidy writes that Romney's choice will only show his confidence, or lack thereof, in a victory.

Super PAC Head Backs Bain Ad
[National Journal, 8/9/12] The head of Priorities USA Action, the pro-Obama super PAC responsible for an ad that some say blames Romney for the death of a woman, “absolutely” stands by the spot.

Obama's Secret Weapon: Bill Clinton
[U.S. News, 8/9/12] Former President Bill Clinton could be very helpful to Obama in getting working-class and middle-class voters. Clinton has a special credibility as a centrist and his popularity could convince voters.

Coal Miners' Union Sits Out Presidential Race
[National Journal, 8/9/12] Both candidates are trying to prove themselves to voters in coal-intensive swing states like Ohio, but certain coal miner unions aren’t buying it. Even after endorsing then-Sen. Obama in 2008, the United Mine Workers of America has decided to sit this one out.

Exclusive Romney Interview: On Humility and Tax Returns
[Bloomberg Businessweek, 8/9/12] Romney opens up to Businessweek’s Josh Tyrangiel about his father, his success as a businessman, Mormonism, and why his tax returns are a non-issue.

Obama Pounces on Romney's Opposition to Win Tax Credit NEW!  [National Journal, 8/9/12] Obama’s campaign team isn’t wasting any time in taking advantage of Mitt Romney’s controversial stance on extending a production tax credit for wind energy. "At a moment when homegrown energy, renewable energy, is creating new jobs in states like Colorado and Iowa, my opponent wants to end tax credits for wind-energy producers," Obama said Thursday.


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