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Pawlenty endorses Romney for president

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Pawlenty endorses Romney for president

Former Minnesota governor joins former rival's campaign

  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
    Gage Skidmore/FlickrFormer Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
    Gage Skidmore/FlickrFormer Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Monday, and is joining the Romney campaign as a national co-chairman.

In a statement posted on Romney's campaign website, Pawlenty said Romney "will certainly be a formidable president."

Pawlenty dropped his own campaign for president last month, after a disappointing third-place finish in the Iowa straw poll.

The New York Times reports that Pawlenty's contributors and supporters "had been waiting for a signal from him in the escalating contest between Mr. Romney and [Texas Governor Rick] Perry." And Pawlenty himself had been looking for a job to help him retire at least $500,000 in campaign debt.

Pawlenty first made the announcement Monday morning on the Fox and Friends television program.

“I believe [Romney's] going to be our party’s nominee," Pawlenty said, according to Politico. Pawlenty predicted Romney would be a "transformational and great president."

On "Fox and Friends," Pawlenty pointed to the difference in Romney and Perry's statements on Social Security.

"Governor Romney wants to fix Social Security. He doesn’t want to abolish it or end it," Pawlenty said. "Governor Perry has said in the past that he thought it was 'failed.'"

Asked on the program if he was interested in being Romney's running mate, Pawlenty suggested he was not.

"I’m not going to consider being VP. I was down that path once before with John McCain," he said, according to Politico. "That won’t be part of the future for me."

In a statement, Romney called Pawlenty joining his campaign an "honor."

“Tim will be a trusted adviser as I move forward with my campaign," Romney said, according to The New York Times. "Tim has always been an advocate for lower taxes, reduced spending and an environment where jobs can be created. It is an honor to have him serve as co-chair to my campaign for the presidency.”

Earlier in the campaign, Pawlenty had used the term "Obamneycare" to compare the health care reforms Romney put in place in Massachusetts with the health care reform law signed by President Barack Obama. According to the Times, "Romney’s advisers said he shrugged off the criticism as a typical campaign moment."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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