A prime speaking slot at next week's Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., has been reserved for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the party announced Wednesday.

The onetime White House aspirant will address the presidential nominating convention next Wednesday night, preceding former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Following Rice will be U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, Mitt Romney's choice as his vice presidential running mate over Pawlenty and a handful of others.

The GOP said the convention's theme on its third day is "We Can Change It," with jobs and the economy as the dominant messages.

Speakers leading up to Pawlenty on Day 3 include Ariz. Sen. John McCain, the party's presidential nominee in 2008, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482