In a surprise pick, McCain selects Alaska Gov. Palin over Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty

Governor Tim Pawlenty speaks to media personnel during a press conference after being a guest on WCCO radio’s “Good Morning Minnesota Live from the Minnesota State Fair.” Pawlenty voiced his continued support for McCain and his choice for Vice President.

Tara Sloane

Governor Tim Pawlenty speaks to media personnel during a press conference after being a guest on WCCO radio’s “Good Morning Minnesota Live from the Minnesota State Fair.” Pawlenty voiced his continued support for McCain and his choice for Vice President.

In a surprise choice, Republican presidential candidate John McCain selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. News came Friday morning, as vice presidential short-lister Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty hosted his radio show live from a swarmed WCCO Radio booth at the State Fair. A CBS News special report announcing PalinâÄôs position interrupted PawlentyâÄôs programming, which purposely deviated from politics and instead focused on State Fair mainstays like swine and preserve judging. At an impromptu press conference following the hour-long radio show that drew media en masse, Pawlenty, a College of Liberal Arts and Law School alumnus, pledged his continued ardent support for McCainâÄôs campaign. âÄúGov. Palin is an outstanding, terrific pick for vice president for the country, for the Republican Party,âÄù he said, noting her executive experience and likely appeal to women voters. Leading up to McCainâÄôs announcement, elections expert and Morris campus political science professor Paula OâÄôLoughlin said she thought Pawlenty emerged as the clear favorite. âÄúHe seemed to be the smartest choice,âÄù she said. As for PawlentyâÄôs future, he said McCain hasnâÄôt approached him about a cabinet position and, at least for now, thatâÄôs not the governorâÄôs aim. âÄúMy goal now is to do what I can as a volunteer to get Sen. McCain elected president for the next 60 days, but as importantly that I continue my work as governor of the state of Minnesota,âÄù he said. Asked if heâÄôll seek re-election, Pawlenty familiarly played coy as he has throughout the months-long vice president speculation. âÄúIâÄôve decided to defer that until sometime early next year,âÄù he said. âÄúWeâÄôre going to let this election pass.âÄù