Pawlenty on Face the Nationby Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty did nothing to dampen the vice-presidential speculation swirling around him, during an appearance this morning on CBS News' Face the Nation.
The show's host asked Pawlenty and U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Indiana, whether they were asked to be their party's vice-presidential nominee, or were willing to take themselves out of the running. Both Pawlenty and Bayh said they had no news on that front.
Pawlenty spent most of the show criticizing Democrat Barack Obama's credentials to be president while praising Republican John McCain's foreign policy experience, including his position on the current conflict between Russia and Georgia.
"Sen. McCain has said that we need to deal with this aggressively," said Pawlenty. "And one of the questions this crisis raises is, who do you want sitting across the table from Vladimir Putin and people like him, John McCain or Sen. Obama? I think the answer is Sen. McCain, and that's for obvious reasons."
Bayh, who is said to be a possible running mate for Obama, said McCain was so obsessed with Iraq that he dropped the ball regarding the conflict in Georgia and Russia.
Bayh said Obama has demonstrated superior judgment to Senator McCain on national security issues.
"Whether to go into Iraq or not, Barack Obama was correct. How to get out of Iraq -- the Iraqis embraced Barack Obama's position, even George Bush is coming around," said Bayh. "He was right about Afghanistan. John McCain is coming around on that."
Bayh also criticized Pawlenty for not initially supporting the troop surge in Iraq. Pawlenty said he was skeptical about the surge because he was worried that it came too late. He said he, like McCain, believed the increase in troop levels should have started earlier.
Pawlenty co-chairs McCain's presidential committee and has campaigned for him across the nation.