Pawlenty to travel overseas with McCain

  • Article by: MARK BRUNSWICK , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 6, 2008 - 5:26 AM

The trip comes after recent campaign travels on behalf of the presidential candidate, prompting renewed questions about a possible vice presidential run. The governor again deflected the speculation.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty will travel to Germany this weekend with Republican presidential hopeful John McCain to attend a security conference.

Pawlenty will join McCain in Munich to attend a summit of the world's top security officials.

Pawlenty, national co-chairman of McCain's campaign, also recently attended a conference on homeland security with the Arizona senator in Florida.

Pawlenty has been campaigning for McCain during weekends and is the head of the National Governors Association. He has been asked to go along on the Munich trip by congressional officials because security issues affect state as well as federal policy, he said.

"The idea is that it's a conference on security which obviously affects states which affects nations which affects all of us," Pawlenty said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates also is expected to attend.

As many as 40 ministers and three presidents are expected to attend the conference. Altogether, 250 delegates from 50 countries will participate. Topics for discussion will include "a world in disorder" with shifting centers of power.

Pawlenty casually announced the plans during an impromptu news conference after being asked by reporters about any further role he might be playing in the McCain presidential campaign.

Pawlenty again brushed aside suggestions that he might be considered a vice presidential candidate on any possible McCain ticket. He said he is likely to continue to campaign for the Arizona Republican as time allows, acknowledging that the upcoming legislative session will put more demands on his time. Pawlenty has campaigned for McCain in New Hampshire, Florida, Michigan and Illinois.

"It hasn't been too burdensome," Pawlenty said of his campaign schedule. "Beyond Super Tuesday, I'm not sure what my role would be. With the session approaching, we'll see. It probably won't change dramatically from what you've seen."

Asked if he would turn down an invitation to join the ticket, Pawlenty joked, "I could always turn him down. I'm only helping Senator McCain because he's a great man and would be a great president of the United States, particularly in these times."

Despite his support and polls showing strong support for McCain, Pawlenty predicted that McCain would probably finish behind Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the Republican caucuses in Minnesota because of a smaller subgroup of Republicans who show up at caucuses.

Mark Brunswick • 651-222-1636

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