Pawlenty also announced his endorsement online at the National Review. In a post entitled, My Endorsement: Mitt Romney for President, Pawlenty wrote:
Mitt Romney is running for president, and I am proud to endorse him.
Alone among the contenders, he possesses the unique qualifications to confront and master our severe economic predicament. His abiding faith in our countrys exceptional historical position as a beacon of freedom will make him the most important leader in a world that depends upon a strong America to stay at peace.
Pawlentys announcement goes on to cite a number of Romneys achievements, including a budget surplus in Massachusetts, and the security mobilization of the 2002 Winter Olympics over which Romney presided.
Pawlenty also indicated that he was encouraged by Romneys economic plan:
Hes formulated an economic plan a set of alternatives to the government-oriented programs that Barack Obama has put in place that is unparalleled in the history of American electoral campaigns. By pressing for fundamental change in the way that Washington taxes and spends, issues regulations, uses energy, interacts with our major trading partners, and deals with our labor force, he fully envisions a way to place America back on the path toward rapid economic growth and full employment.
Overall, Pawlenty concludes that Romney is a man of great character and a man of principle.
Some believe that Pawlentys early endorsement holds a more subtle agenda, like a Romeny-Pawlenty ticket in November 2012. Appearing on Fox News Fox and Friends, Pawlenty admitted, I believe hes going to be our partys nominee.
In 2007, Pawlenty was one of the first people to endorse John McCain, even before McCain was an official candidate. At the time, analysts speculated that Pawlenty was hoping to position himself on the presidential ticket with McCain. Though history tells us that did not happen, some believe that Pawlenty has a greater chance of being called upon for a vice presidential position in 2012. Hot Air reports:
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, hell 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 youre 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?
Pawlenty has addressed these speculations by asserting, Im not going to consider being VP. I was down that path once before with John McCain. That wont be part of the future for me.
Hot Air also notes that the endorsement is particularly meaningful when one takes notice of the fact that Pawlenty refused to restate his attack on Romneycare in a national debate, a moment that Hot Air calls a turning point in this race. It may be difficult for Pawlenty to reconcile his earlier position on Romneys healthcare plan with his current endorsement. But its also worth mentioning that Pawlentys endorsement does not address healthcare.
When asked about assertions that Romney was the author of Obamneycare, Pawlenty simply stated that he has engaged in various discussions with Romney about healthcare and concluded that Mitt Romney is 100 percent dedicated and committed to repealing Obamacare.
Pawlenty also blasted Texas Governor Rick Perry, indicating that he may want to end entitlement programs like Social Security.
Governor Romney wants to fix Social Security. He doesnt want to abolish it or end it, said Pawlenty. Governor Perry has said in the past that he thought it was failed.
Whether Pawlentys endorsement will have any impact on the Romney campaign remains to be seen, although it seems likely that it would not considering the lack of support Pawlenty received from the general public throughout his brief presidential campaign.
For some, however, Pawlentys endorsement is a reflection of a perceived shortage of principled candidates in the GOP presidential pool. As noted by Josh Painter of PoliticalLore.com, Pawlentys endorsement signals his alignment with the more moderate elements of the Republican Party establishment and against the Tea Party movement. So much for that vaunted Pawlenty conservatism.
Photo: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, left, discusses his endorsement of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, right, during a news conference in North Charleston, S.C.,, Sept. 12, 2011.: AP Images