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Gov. Tim Pawlenty on McCain's VP Choice

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," March 6, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: So Senator McCain has officially sealed the deal to become the Republican nominee for president. And now rumors are swirling as to who he might choose for his running mate.

Joining us now, Minnesota Governor — I apologize, I actually said Tom and I know who you are. Governor Tim Pawlenty is with us. And he's supporting Senator McCain, has been mentioned as a possible candidate.

Watch the interview with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty

All right, Senator — Governor, if asked, would you take the job?

GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R), MINNESOTA: Sean, I am supporting Senator McCain, because I think he's a great and courageous leader, not because I need or want a different job. And that's all just speculation and...

HANNITY: But now you sound like Lanny Davis, who never answers any of my questions. If you were asked to take the job, would you take it?

PAWLENTY: Well, what I have said I will repeat here for you. I'm committed to stay and serve out my duties in Minnesota. I like it in Minnesota. My day job is great. I support Senator McCain because he's a great leader.

HANNITY: Well, that's a fair non-answer and I'll accept that for this particular point. Look, it's obviously something that you have to take seriously, because it's such a serious position.

Let me ask you this, and it's a question that I've had often. When we look at states like Wisconsin, your state of Minnesota, Michigan, which has been, you know, a one-state recession while there's been, generally speaking, economic recovery in most of the nation. These states, we always hear that it's right on the edge for the Republicans to win and go from blue to red. What would it take for that to happen, in your view, this cycle?

PAWLENTY: Well, in Minnesota it is a purplish state, maybe a little light blue. So it's within the range that a Republican could win, but it has to be the right kind of candidate. And I think Senator McCain would play very well in Minnesota.

In fact, the public polls here right now show him either ahead or tied with the two Democratic candidates and for Minnesota, that's quite an accomplishment.

HANNITY: And how will Al Franken and Norm Coleman pan out?

PAWLENTY: I think Norm Coleman is going to win that race. He's ahead in most of the polls now. And again, even though it's a light blue or purplish state, Norm has done a great job as a senator. He's a dynamic campaigner. He's raising a lot of money.

And Al Franken is somebody who is, you know, a little quirky as a candidate, and I think the Minnesotans would be hesitant to elect him.

HANNITY: Apparently doesn't pay his workman's compensation insurance, according to reports that I've been reading out there. But look at — look at the history of people that have been elected in the state. Paul Wellstone.

COLMES: Jesse Ventura.

HANNITY: Yes, Jesse Ventura would be another one. But it has a history of having some pretty extreme liberals from the state. Has the state shifted demographically, Governor?

PAWLENTY: Yes, it has, Sean. If you look at the history here, we had Humphrey, Mondale, Wellstone, McCarthy. But we also in more recent times, we've had a pretty consistent record of electing Republicans statewide. Not all the time. At one time we had Paul Wellstone in the Senate at the same time as Rod Grams, one of the most conservative members of the Senate. That just gives you some measure of the capacity for how the state could go one way or the other.

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Governor, it's Alan. Welcome to the show. Nothing quirky about Minnesota, right? Nothing quirky about the people they've elected. What was it like following Jesse Ventura in that position?

(LAUGHTER)

PAWLENTY: Well, if you study upper Midwestern politics and I know this term is unsettling or interesting to some, but the common threat for a lot of Upper Midwestern politics is populism. So back in the '90s when times were good, we elected Ventura.

And it was interesting. Is that people were looking for maybe something a little different after him. I filled the void. I don't have his muscles, and I certainly don't have his cigar going. But I think people had an interesting time when he was governor, but they were ready to move on.

COLMES: You interestingly and very deftly ducked the question about the vice presidency that Sean threw your way. I just wonder, have there been any conversation about that with anybody in the McCain camp or McCain else?

PAWLENTY: No. I have never discussed it with Senator McCain, and Senator McCain's confirmed publicly he hasn't discussed it with anybody else. Now that he's got the nomination, I'm sure he'll put the process in place to vet candidates.

But know that he'll have dozens and dozens and dozens of fantastic candidates to consider. And for anybody to say there's one or two or five people who are going to be it, it's just pure and unadulterated speculation at this point.

COLMES: You and he differ on a number of issues, specifically on immigration, where you at one point talked about establishing a 10-member Minnesota illegal immigration enforcement team that would be federally trained and authorized to question, arrest suspected illegal immigrants. You have a much harder stance on that than John McCain has ever had.

PAWLENTY: I essentially have done that now as an executive order, Alan, to put that into law in Minnesota and train and better work with the federal agents to enforce immigration laws. But I don't think Senator McCain has opposed closer working relationships or empowering local authorities under the right permission to enforce the immigration laws. I haven't heard him say that.

COLMES: Is it your position it is OK to stop people on the street? Stop anybody who looks suspicious at any time and find out if they're here illegally? Is that what that's about? Or does it not work that way?

PAWLENTY: That's a little editorializing on your part.

COLMES: No, that's a question.

PAWLENTY: Yes, I'm opposed to the sanctuary ordinances where the cities are able to pass ordinances to prohibit their law enforcement officials from even asking about immigration status. In Minnesota, I propose that ordinances be eliminated, and legislature has refused to do that. But we continue to try to push that. I don't think we should have sanctuary cities or sanctuary ordinances in this country.

COLMES: But is it OK to stop somebody on the street and ask them if they're here legally and ask for documentation?

PAWLENTY: I think it's OK for law enforcement, if they have a reason to stop and question somebody for law enforcement or public safety purposes, to inquire about immigration status. Yes, I do.

COLMES: Governor, I'm sure we'll be talking again. At least I hope we will, and flesh out some of these positions. Thanks very much for being with us tonight.

PAWLENTY: You're welcome. Thank you.

COLMES: Thanks very much.

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