Published September 12, 2011
Ex-presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Monday endorsed Mitt Romney for the GOP presidential nomination, saying the former Massachusetts governor and businessman has what it takes to turn the country around.
Pawlenty, speaking on Fox News, cited Romney's "depth and scope" of experience in the private sector.
"I think he's going to be a transformational and great president for this country," he told Fox News, calling Romney's business resume "unmatched."
Though Pawlenty had criticized Romney over Massachusetts' health care plan before dropping out of the race last month, the former Minnesota governor said Monday he's confident Romney would fight to undo the federal health care overhaul -- which bears similarities to the Massachusetts law.
"Mitt Romney is 100 percent dedicated and committed to repealing Obamacare," Pawlenty said, citing Romney's pledge to grant the states waivers from the federal law.
In a statement, Pawlenty called Romney a "man of principle," grounded by belief in "the bedrock conservative ideals of limited government and free enterprise."
Pawlenty will be joining the campaign as national co-chairman. He denied having any interest in being a vice presidential nominee, noting he already went down that road in 2008. At the time, he was floated as a possible running mate to GOP nominee John McCain, who ultimately picked Sarah Palin.
"I'm not even going to consider that," Pawlenty said Monday. "That won't be part of the future for me."
Pawlenty dropped out of the GOP race in August after a third-place showing in the Iowa straw poll.
Romney was the apparent front-runner for several months, but has been eclipsed in recent polls by the latest candidate to enter the race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.