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Pawlenty Addresses Escalating VP Buzz

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Tim PawlentyFNC

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," July 24, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: As speculation continues to mount about Senator McCain and who he'll pick for his VP, Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has emerged at a top prospect.

According to the "Minneapolis Star Tribune," McCain held a closed door fund-raiser Tuesday where he praised Pawlenty. And yesterday McCain publicly complimented the governor at a news conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Let's take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R-AZ), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He's a great, fine person. He was reelected in one of the toughest reelection years in the history of the Republican Party. He comes from — his father, I'm pretty sure, drove a truck. He's a great success story. He's been able to work across the aisle in Minnesota with the Democrats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HANNITY: And joining us now Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty.

Governor, how are you?

GOV. TIM PAWLENTY (R-MN), MCCAIN SUPPORTER: I'm good. I'm doing very good. Thanks for having me on the show.

Video: Watch Sean and Alan's interview with Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty

HANNITY: All right. Time for the tough questions. No more ducking here all you potential VPs. Are you being vetted?

PAWLENTY: You know, I have stopped engaging in this discussion because every time somebody addresses it, it sets off more speculation, but more to the point, I'm the co-chair of Senator McCain's campaign, and they've asked the campaign staff and others just not to talk about the VP, so I'm trying to respect that request.

HANNITY: OK. If you are offered the job, will you take it?

PAWLENTY: I'm just not engaging in those discussions.

HANNITY: That's a simple question.

PAWLENTY: If the presumptive nominee of your party says, Governor, we need you — and by the way, I have the Quinnipiac poll, I'm sure you saw this earlier today. State of Minnesota, Obama 46, McCain 44.

You're a very popular governor in an important state for the Republicans if they could pick it off from the Democrats, turn blue to red. Would you take the job?

PAWLENTY: There's just so much speculation about it. Most of it is inaccurate or off on various tangents, and so I'm just not going to engage in the speculation. I don't think it's helpful. This is ultimately Senator McCain's.

HANNITY: All right.

PAWLENTY: . call and the fact that he respects me and I respect him. That's not news.

HANNITY: All right, basically, you're saying to me, Hannity, leave me alone. I'm not answering that question.

I understand, Governor. That's fair.

Let me ask you this.

PAWLENTY: All right.

HANNITY: I'm making the case that I think that one of the reasons that Barack Obama's so well-received, for example, in Germany today, is because he shares the values of some European socialists on taxes, redistribution, on nationalizing health care, on the belief in the United Nations, people that were against the Iraq war.

Hours after Obama gives that speech, he used that speech to raise campaign funds even though his campaign said it wasn't a campaign — speech, and he scrapped a visit to wounded troops. What does that all mean to you, Governor?

PAWLENTY: Well, I heard the segment that you had with Frank Luntz and comparing the speeches that President Reagan gave and President Kennedy gave. There's one big distinction. They were presidents, and they actually had done something and accomplished something.

To go have an unprecedented campaign rally basically in Europe seems a little unusual to me, and I agree with Frank Luntz, the American people are angry, and they're going to be even more angry when they realized that Senator Obama doesn't want to have offshore drilling, doesn't want to have a gas tax holiday, even if you backfill the transportation fund as Senator McCain wants to do.

They're angry about gas prices, and he represents himself. We talk about his words are pretty. Yes, they're pretty, but the best sermons are not preached, they're lived. And he says, well, I'm a uniter, and he says in his ads, you know, I'm a uniter because I'm against loose nukes.

Well, who's in favor of loose nukes, Sean? I mean how big of a risk.

COLMES: Hey, Governor.

PAWLENTY: How much bold leadership is that?

COLMES: Welcome to our show. It's Alan Colmes.

By the way he worked with Dick Lugar on getting rid of.

PAWLENTY: Alan, good to see you.

COLMES: . the loose nukes, one of his fine piece of legislation as a senator. He also was not there just as a candidate. He said he's there as a citizen. He didn't go talk to the troops because he didn't think it would be appropriate to go to a U.S. military installation using campaign funds which is why he didn't take that particular trip.

So I just want to, you know, mention the.

PAWLENTY: But, Alan, on the loose — we've been asking Senator Obama, what is the one thing, even one thing, that you've brought to your party and shown courage and boldness or — on something of national significance? And now he's running an ad saying he reached out and worked to round up loose nukes.

That's good work, but how is that controversial? How is that bold.

COLMES: Good work. But why do you have to prove that you're.

PAWLENTY: Everybody's.

COLMES: Why do you have to prove that you're controversial or against your party in order to please conservatives?

PAWLENTY: Well, the point is everybody's in favor of rounding up loose nukes, of course, and so how is that an example.

COLMES: He did something about it.

PAWLENTY: . that he's reached across party aisle.

COLMES: He did something — but let me ask you.

PAWLENTY: Well, everybody was in favor of it.

COLMES: I'm just curious, Governor. I know you don't want to answer the VP question, but if you do get the nod, would you actually still talk to liberals like me? If the.

HANNITY: No. Tell him no.

COLMES: Hannity threw his voice into your body.

PAWLENTY: No, Alan, I still would like to talk to you.

COLMES: I don't know how he did it. How did that happen?

PAWLENTY: I just did.

COLMES: Are the areas where you differ from John McCain?

PAWLENTY: Well, I'm sure there are. I haven't gone through all the various issues. In ANWR, for example, I'm willing the least willing to study it and explore it. I think he has said that's something he wants to not do. I think we should at least take a look at it. The footprint could be small. There may be some other issues as well.

HANNITY: By the way, Governor, he said last night in his interview with me that he would revisit that in light of the high price of gasoline, so he did talk about that last night.

COLMES: So he's willing to change on that position as well?

PAWLENTY: Well, I'll mention something to you, Alan. I don't know how high gas is going to have to go, five bucks, six bucks, seven bucks a gallon, but if it gets to that point, I'll predict to you that Senator Obama will flip his position on that as well.

COLMES: Flipping and flopping or just flipping? I just want to be clear about that.

All right, Governor, thanks very much for being with us tonight.

PAWLENTY: One of the other.

COLMES: Thank you very much.

PAWLENTY: You're welcome. Thanks for.

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