There's a reason he's jumping up Intrade like mad and now stands as investors' second choice for Veep, according to Politico.
The former Minnesota governor has impressed top Romney officials with his winning onstage presence at a grueling roster of Republican events throughout the country and with his low-maintenance personal style that has made him a favorite with the campaign’s tight-knit inner circle at the Boston headquarters.
Pawlenty is strong where Romney is weak — with the regular-guy, working-man connection with voters in casual settings.
“Pawlenty will walk up and put a supporter in a headlock,” said a Republican consultant who was startled to witness just that. “He provides a nice yin and yang to Romney.”
Several top Republicans said that as the hockey-playing son of a blue-collar worker, and a longtime champion of connecting with what he has called “Sam’s Club Republicans,” Pawlenty would be comfortable campaigning among working-class voters in a way that Romney never will be.
In addition, Pawlenty is an evangelical Christian but is low-key enough about his faith that he doesn’t scare off secular voters. This could help Romney with religious conservatives who may be skeptical of — or even hostile to — his Mormon faith.
“He’s great with conservatives but doesn’t scare off women,” a Romney campaign official said of Pawlenty.
Not only have Romney and Pawlenty developed an easy bond when they travel together, but their wives — Ann Romney and Mary Pawlenty — have developed a genuine friendship that has surprised some campaign insiders.
As I've written before, it makes much more sense to go safe if the race is, essentially, even, and Pawlenty makes sense in that context.
But there's another name to keep an eye on -- John Thune.
Like Pawlenty, he's got a low-key Midwestern style, appeals to women, doesn't come across as a bomb-thrower, and is well-versed in sticking to talking points.
But unlike Pawlenty, he's got the fresh factor working for him.
Downside? He hasn't spent as much time with Romney, which seems to be an important thing to Mitt.