August 29th, 2008
08:25 PM ET

Veepstakes, swine and carnies

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/29/art.pawlenty.fair.jpg caption="Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty walks through the State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, Minn., Friday."]
Steve Brusk
CNN political desk, senior assignment editor
AC360° contributor

For Governor Tim Pawlenty, Friday had to be a surreal morning. At the same time he could have been headed to an Ohio rally be named John McCain’s running mate, he instead was at the Minnesota State Fair talking about pigs and carnies.

Pawlenty hosted his weekly radio show from a white porch on the fairgrounds in St. Paul, just as the nation was learning of McCain’s choice. The radio booth for WCCO sits under the skyride, behind the Icee booth in the middle of the midway.

Wearing a blue and white striped golf shirt, a smiling Pawlenty was greeted by cheers as he walked through the crowd. The man who was among the finalists to be McCain’s vice presidential nominee took the mic as Elvis’ Burning Love played. “Hunk-a –hunk-a burning love”, he said as the show began.

The show would feature a swine judge for the fair judging he said, telling the audience to laughter, “you should know about the quality of pigs.” His second guest in the fair-themed show would describe the life of a carnie.

Pawlenty says he likes the weekly show to be free of politics, but politics could not be ignored this morning. The first question from the audience was how he slept the night before, and what is next for Minnesota since he wouldn’t be leaving.

The Governor told Mark from St. Paul “I slept great last night”. He said they had a busy day, highlighted by his daughter winning a volleyball game he was able to attend.

“It was a good night for our family”, he said.

Sitting just 50 feet from the booth for the state Republican Party, covered in McCain signs, Pawlenty said, “I’m delighted to be an advocate for the McCain campaign. I’m just honored to be Governor of Minnesota, and I couldn’t ask for a better state.”

The crowd of 300 to 400 people thinned out after the running mate question. But seven television cameras and a herd of reporters remained.

As Pawlenty’s show took a break, the radio station aired a special report announcing Governor Sarah Palin had been chosen by McCain instead. She was en route to the Dayton arena, as Pawlenty prepared to go back on the air. There was no discernable reaction as the report played on the loudspeakers.

After the show, he came out to the group of reporters waiting for his reaction. He called Palin a “wonderful, terrific outstanding pick.”

“She’s an executive, she’s a reformer, dynamic”, he said. Calling her a “hockey mom”, he said Palin has a “compelling personal story”.

Pawlenty revealed he got the news from McCain himself early Friday morning, and “congratulated him” on the choice. He called the conversation “personal”, declining to share details but said it was an “upbeat, positive call”.

Showing no signs of disappointment, Pawlenty said he didn’t get into the McCain campaign “with the idea I wanted or needed anything out of it”> He said he remains a top supporter and will actively work for the ticket. He wouldn’t say if he had interest in the cabinet post.

More fairgoers and television cameras swarmed Pawlenty as he departed. It was a fun morning at the fair, but perhaps not the morning he hoped for a day earlier, as the vice presidential speculation centered on him.

Filed under: Behind The Scenes • Raw Politics • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (76 Responses)
  1. RICK

    Hey Mr.McCAIN
    Iam so excited about your choice of Gov. Palin as your V.P. I feel more secure in knowing that this woman may ascend to the presidency of the most powerfull nation on earth. I hope she wears those go-go boots on inauguration day.
    If for some reason she does not work out ,maybe you could try Mrs. Santa Clause. She is a woman from the far north also. Ms.Clause has strong family values(loves children), firmly entrenched religious values(she and her husband prepare for Christmas all year long).
    Her foreign relations knowlege is extensive{ she has travelled the globe with her husband several times).
    Although she is not a member of the NRA , she has extensive weapons design knowlege from assisting her production team create toy replicas for delivery to all the up and coming lifetime NRA members. She not a big hunter ,she has a fondess for reindeer.
    If these are the qualifications the republicans are looking for in a VP pick, this could be the ticket!!
    Lets hold hands ,chow down some moose burgers and say a prayer and hope to ____ OBAMA wins this election!!!

    OBAMA / BIDEN 08

    August 31, 2008 at 9:28 pm |
  2. George Texas

    The Hillary supporters complain to much!!!!!
    If you did a little research you would know there are 113 million voting eligible women in the United States. The Hillary supporters only represent 16% of potential women voters. John Mc Cain made a brilliant move by adding an intelligent women on his ticket to take over Washington. The Democrats only play to women emotions and the good old boys never had any intentions to let women take a rightful role in moving this country forward.
    Go John Mc Cain & Sarah Palin

    August 31, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  3. JaY

    Mccain, action seem to be that of someone on drugs. How lame can he really be? Cam well reported.....

    August 31, 2008 at 5:00 pm |
  4. Cam

    As the husband of a stay-at-home mom who cares for our 6 children, one of whom has serious medical issues, I am appalled by this pick. What does it say about her values and priorities when she is willing to essentially abandon a newborn baby with such a serious disease to spend the time and energy it takes to become VP? How can she claim to care about your family and your children when she apparently doesn't even care about her own? Being a stay-at-home mom is THE hardest job in the world. The President and VP have all kinds of support in their job, stay-at-home moms do not have that same support and are unlikel to get it from such an uncaring mother as their VP....

    August 31, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  5. deshawn

    Can you say obvious pandering to the HRC supporters. Why would the republicans think so small minded on HRC supporters to think they would bypass the issues and vote because shes a mother.I understand shes a hockey mom and has a compelling personal story but will she be redy to negotiate international conflicts and dealing with the american economy.She may be ready but thats not the issue, the issue is the Republicans betting on the American public voting on their personal feeling toward a canidate than the canidate issues.
    We are making a mockery of the American voting system and countries around the world are watching.


    August 31, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  6. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Nancy, I applaud you for speaking nothing but the truth. One of my daughter's best friends first born has downs syndrome and trust me she doesn't put him out there for display. She spends much of her time in between her 8 hour job working with this child because his demands for care are so great. She does have the help of agencies that assist in the rehab services but she also has to be an active part of that. She and her husband love this child and do everything required as a mother to insure she is there for him and her one other child.

    August 31, 2008 at 1:00 pm |
  7. diane knaus

    McCain is a maverick in sheeps clothing, pure and simple. This is pandering at its best folks. He knew he had to do something spectacular to get attention, so why not name another maverick. Well, the Wild West may have been won by mavericks, but this isn't the Old West anymore...In case McCain hasn't noticed, G. bush has been accused of being a maverick in his own right. At this point he is the most unpopular president in history.
    I am sure Mrs. Palin is a nice person and has integrity, however, she has less experience in the foreign politics arena than I do and I am not running for office. McCain is pandering, and too abd for Mrs. Palin to be used in such a manner. If she did have more experience saya whole term as governor, then we could talk about it. But, she is his choice not mine so I'll vote Obama, Biden.
    Diane Knaus

    August 31, 2008 at 10:06 am |
  8. Billy

    I pray Hillary Clinton supporters are intelligent enough not to fall for Mccain's gimmik. He is using Palin as his token to manipulate those democrats. I hope they remember to vote for their values and not for gender. Palin is an ultra conservative and is nothing like Clinton. This is an insult!

    August 31, 2008 at 8:29 am |
  9. Thomas Ade

    I thought mcsame would select wisely, but he did what a 5th grader will be purnished for. he lacks the judgement of a US president
    Just look at the whole world , Sen. Obama is well welcome and highly admire but not mcbush

    Canada for Obama

    August 31, 2008 at 5:24 am |
  10. Jim Evangelista

    Hopefully, the late night revision that was caught by the Wikipedia staff the night before Sarah Palin’s VP nomination was announced won’t get swept off the table from investigation !

    Apparently, there was a last minute clean up of Gov. Palin’s record, the poster signed in using Palin’s younget son’s name and the changes made cast Palin in a much more favorable light than what had previously been online, conveniently in time for the media and the rest of the world to come looking for answers to this candidate’s record…KEEP ‘EM HONEST, ANDERSON !

    Let’s find out who really did the revision of the record ny following the e mail trail and the source computer used to sign on and perpetrate another “plumber break-in”……HANG TOUGH , 360 !

    August 31, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  11. J.V.hodgson

    Dear All,
    Despite the character of Mrs Palin, if Obama has little credentials (debateable) as CIC, this lady has none at all and that is not debateable.
    Pro choice, pro life is such a big religious issue in the US that over flows into politics and the area of law where it does not belong. Politics, religion and law/Judiciary (law) are separated by the constitution and should be kept that way.
    Both Biden and Palin have sons who are off to serve the country Beau biden had the dignity not to say specifically why he would not be around but war monger republicans state it loud and clear and public show pakins rifle shooting skills under the eyes of a military man.
    She is a typical republican, nothing more nothing less and certainly not someone I would choose to follow Mccain Bidens senatorioal career and Justice and foreign relation committe experience make him clearly a better choice as a VP.
    As always on 4th November voters will decide who they think will be the best president first ( based on Policies we hope )and second might just briefly swing a few voters who is VP.
    The likes of Pawlenty ,Romney, Crist and Ridge might say nice words, but deep down must be appalled and very unhappy, and so will lots of other republican movers and shakers = a divided party??

    August 31, 2008 at 1:27 am |
  12. Another Sarah

    To lampe: Be my guest and vote for McCain/Palin because Hillary didn't get the nod. (And if you think I buy that I have some land in NO you might be interested in buying). Please... It was Rove and Cheney who preached over and over again that the VP nod should be an experienced person. McCain echoed that sentiment. Are you telling me those of you in PA aren't concerned about this woman will be dealing with the Putin/Russia crisis because she's a hockey mom and former mayor of a town. Yeah like the fact that she lives close to Russia makes her experienced. Please... McCain blew it!!

    August 30, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    The selection of Palin for VP seems more like an attempt to upstage the Democrats with a "historic" first and to put his campaign on equal footing with Obama's. McCain has said for months now that Obama's inexperience was his biggest drawback in his run for President; if he really believed that why did he pick such and inexperienced person for his VP? Where did the man who was a maverick because he tried to do what he believed was right go? I question HIS judgment now.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    August 30, 2008 at 10:42 pm |
  14. Alma Blanca

    What is a woman with a five month old special needs child doing on the campaign trail? If you make a 'choice' to go ahead with a pregnancy that will end with a special child it would have been a much wiser decision to stay home and be a Mom to that child and not leave his care to others.

    August 30, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  15. Sunni

    Sarah Palin with her hand hovering over the red button? Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

    August 30, 2008 at 8:18 pm |
  16. joe lockheed

    A gun- toting,karaboo-hunter-eater,hockey mom and part-time mayor.
    A 18 month governor, unknown and untested, will be vice and president of the United States!!!.
    By his decision and how he reached that decision; John McCain has shown that his political ambition comes before his country. By his act, he has shown that what is important to him is how to divide the women vote and win. He has shown no interest to the economic and international crisis facing the nation.
    McCain has been ranting and raging and pontificating about experience; only to fail so miserably in selecting a VP with wisdom and judgement.
    He was wrong on the most important war decision,the Iraq war and will be proven wrong on the VP choice.Instead of folowing a rational decision making process,balancingnational and personal interests;
    He chose personal ambitions over national interests.Worst, he relied on his guts rather than his mind.
    Often, his supporters confuse such "guts" blunders for "independence"!!!.

    August 30, 2008 at 8:08 pm |
  17. Tyler Spears

    So, it's like this. McCain chooses Palin for the second most important job in the United States, after meeting her once, and only 6 months ago at that. Does he even know what type of person she is and or care? Ok, If I were going to choose someone, it would be someone with higher qualifications and someone I know. Not someone I met at a meeting six months ago. Just like applying for any job, you should have a resume, and Palin's resume is very thin. If she [Palin] was to submit her resume for this position, it would more than likely be shredded. This is an obvious attempt to win over women voters who previously supported Sen. Clinton in the primary. I think this is a "slap across the face" to those women, from John McCain. Palin is no Hillary Clinton, but merely a woman. Pathetic and amusing at the same time.

    August 30, 2008 at 6:48 pm |
  18. Nnanna Onukogu

    Palin pick was with the intention to win Clintions indecisive delusional voters. The sudden pick wasn't McCain first intent but for the sake of fooling those indecisive groping voters out there he picked Palin. Secondly, she was picked by McCain with the intention to boost his so called "Maverick" ego which thing I have no problem with but who to be fooled. Thirdly, I believe that one of McCai'n's intention of picking Paulin was in order for him to have a VP who would be more of a listener/doer than an opposition.

    August 30, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  19. Atlmom

    It's hysterical, really, cause when a president gets elected, they have to make all sorts of appointments. So anyone who was seriously considered for VP would, I suspect, also be seriously considered for a post in the administration. So why would you say to this guy: oh, sorry you lost (as it sounds like in this article)? Maybe he's on to bigger and better things in the new McCain administration....

    August 30, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  20. micki

    McCain's choice of VP is insulting to all women. He chose her to get a woman on his ticket. Does he think all women are alike? Does he think that women vote for women? Does he think women don't vote issues? Does he think that she will be able to be pres?
    Does he think?

    August 30, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  21. Ari Cole

    Dear Readers,

    Well it was Senator McCain's choice for the GOP.

    I do believe that Gov. Palin's selection changes the General Election from a clearly Black & White horserace, per se, to infinite shades of GREY.

    Folks in our forties do not have very thick resumes on Foreign Policy, even ones that have attended Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. But she is a CEO of a State!

    Maybe a post Convention trip abroad as Obama did to Iraq, Afganistan and Europe can help with a "Meet and Greet" of World Leaders. Maybe this can quiet some of the Foreign Policy discomfort expressed by Academics and others.

    I am happy with the Women and Minorities in this Election Cycle. Fortunately America is evolving into inclusive Polictal Machines that no longer shy away from including everyone at all levels.

    Good Luck in looking at these nice choices and Shades of Grey, per se, America,

    Harvard Kennedy School Alumnus 2008

    August 30, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  22. lampe

    The Side Show, is The Obama Change Party. Give me a break, what has this man ever done. Oh! I Know, he has brainwashed people into thinking his is GOd. Gov. Palin, has 13 years political experience, what does Obama have? He's a (4year) Senator, who votes present most of the time. He's been campaigning for (2years) to be POTUS, oh yeah! he was aSocial Worker. And how has Palin, not acted in a dignified manner? Maybe because Nancy, you are one of those people, who think a Woman, can't do a mans job? Cindy McCain, is not the one whose out there, having to get a makeover, like (Michelle Obama), so people do not get a glimpse into the evil-hate-filled heart. I hate America, I hate Whites, I hate anything thats not Black. Michelle Obama, wonderful choice for a First Lady, that job requires CLASS, of which Michelle has none.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    August 30, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  23. WA

    No matter which way you slice and dice McCain's pick for VP it is nothing but Political Game Playing. An effort to over shadow the more than transparent picture of another BUSH camoflaged as a caring, war hero, savy politician, ready to restore America! An effort to snag Hillary Supporters any way, any how. There is nothing sacred or off bounds where McSame is concerned. If Hillary Clinton would cross over he'd take her in heart beat if it would win him the election. And he'd again give us a great spin as to why he chose a Democrat Nominee! The man has lost all respect for himself and his Nation!

    Well McSame doesn't fool me. He can put who ever he chooses on his ticket including Palin but it won't change the very obvious, that he is nothing but a BUSH CLONE trying to fulfill his dream at the expense of Americans. He couldn't give a FIG for what our future holds in store. He's 72 and his time, his dream is now or never! And that's all that's on McSame's mind!

    Well my time is now and I have NO TIME for another War Mongering, Trillion Dollar Spending, Old Thinking, Senile, Unhealthy, Senior with the same ideals, same platform, same reckless leadership as his TWIN George!

    NO WAY, NO HOW, NO McCAIN for another four years! I'd elect Anderson Cooper first! He has more conviction, insight, compassion for Americans than McSame!

    August 30, 2008 at 8:52 am |
  24. Jane Gray

    I don't think McCain wants to win anymore. He's tired of the Republican party and the heat he's feeling from them. His choice of "soccer mom" running mate, is like saying F*** YOU to the Republican chain of command. He either doesn't want to win, or this is a senior moment he will not be able to forget.

    August 30, 2008 at 8:03 am |
  25. Jane Gray

    You guys must think we are as stupid as Carl Rove thinks we are.
    Sometimes your reporting is slanted toward the Republicans. During last night's report in "keeping them honest" your reporter stated that Barack Obama's statement that McCain assesses the middle class from a "5 million dollar" income mark was taken out of context – that McCain was merely joking.
    That was no joke and your own vid clip proved it. McCain made that assessment as an impromptu answer to a direct question the pastor posed. The pastor laughed at his response and that made the audience respond in kind. Besides, if we are led to believe that the televised set of interviews were not skewed toward the right, you should remark at the pastor's face when Obama answered that a woman's choice is a private matter, between her and God, one that was above his pay grade, and thus above theirs too. The pastor looked like he was staring down the enemy.
    From: one born-again Christian, angry over a church's holier-than-thou intrusions into personal matters that should be kept between a personal God and His child.

    August 30, 2008 at 7:58 am |
  26. Soul Divia

    Can you say desperate? A loosing party will try anything to retain the ability to rob the American people blind. Wake up Americans, are you any better off than you were eight years ago? I liked Palin, she is a beautiful beauty pageant runner up. She is well spoken and clean. But is she really ready for the Job?

    McCain a 4 time survivor of Cancer at 72 years old picks a babe with no experience except that of laying on her back making babies for the last twenty years. A babe that has only met with McCain on one other occasion, has been put before the American people, one heart beat away from an old heart, a 72 year old heart as a substitute for Hillary; is truly an insult to the thinking people of this country!

    August 30, 2008 at 7:02 am |
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