Forget Marco Rubio. The former Minnesota governor, passed over in 2008, would be a strong addition to the Romney ticket.
Tim Pawlenty could be forgiven for thinking his fellow Republicans don't give him the respect he deserves. He's a conservative former two-term governor of a big swing state, for Pete's sake, and yet he's endured some major humiliations.
John McCain spurned him in favor of novice Sarah Palin for the No. 2 spot on the national ticket in 2008. And Iowa activists flocked to two House members -- Texas Rep. Ron Paul and Pawlenty's fellow Minnesotan, Michele Bachmann -- at their over-hyped straw poll last summer. The third-place finish was crushing for Pawlenty, who had invested well over $1 million in hopes of catching fire and breaking into double-digits. He dropped out of the race the next day.
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For a while Pawlenty denied any interest in the 2012 vice presidential slot. But he's now an energetic and highly visible co-chairman of Romney's campaign and coming into focus as a short-lister. And there are good reasons for that.