Pawlenty Endorses Romney

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on FOX News this morning. He will join the Romney campaign as a national co-chair.

Pawlenty, who dropped out of the presidential race after coming in third in the Ames Straw Poll and failing to gain traction despite running for nearly two years and having supposedly some of the best traditional operatives, said that he thought Romney was going to be the GOP’s nominee and that Romney was “100 percent dedicated and committed to repealing ObamaCare.”

When they were rivals on the campaign trail, Pawlenty linked RomneyCare to ObamaCare by calling it “ObamneyCare” on a Sunday apperance on FOX News Sunday before a debate in New Hampshire. When Pawlenty did not say “ObamneyCare” to Romney’s face the next day during the New Hampshire debate, his campaign was essentially finished, as it reinforced the perceptions people had of Pawlenty as a candidate who was too weak, timid, and nice. 

Pawlenty also said then that it would be difficult for a “co-conspirator” of ObamaCare to successfully challenge Obama in a general election, so his endorsement of Romney is even more interesting.

Perhaps Pawlenty can help Romney in Iowa, where his poll numbers are still high despite his not having contested the state as intensely as he did during the 2008 cycle. Or perhaps his endorsement can help Romney in Florida if it can net him some of Pawlenty’s operatives in that state.

In any event, the endorsment comes at at time, if one assumes the field is set, which may hardly be the case, when the race is becoming a mano-a-mano battle between Perry and Romney, and all signs seem to indicate that Florida may knock out one of them from the race.