Pawlenty claims there's no disappointment: POW talk
ST. PAUL -- To listen to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, you would think "disappointment" is not in his vocabulary.
"I'm not a person who gets hung up on what I didn't get or don't have," the Republican governor said.
When reporters, mostly from Minnesota, cornered Pawlenty after he spoke to the Minnesota convention delegation, he said he was not disappointed he finished second to Palin.
"You could say I was fully considered," Pawlenty said, adding that he had several conversations on the subject with John McCain's campaign.
For more than two years, he was thought to be one of McCain's top vice presidential options. He usually would brush aside questions about it with lines such as: "I already have a day job."
Pawlenty said he did not learn that he lost the veep sweepstakes until Friday morning, hours before McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his choice.
"That whole week, it was unclear what was going to happen," he said.
After the convention ends Thursday, Pawlenty returns to full time as governor. He already is working on next year's budget plan, he said.
"Nothing changes," the governor said Wednesday when asked about how life is different now that more than two years of speculation about his vice presidential prospects had ended. "I am doing the same things I always do."
That's not exactly true. During the Republican National Convention, he has been one of the most sought-after interviews of the national and international media. He started Wednesday morning with an interview in a downtown cafe, then headed to the Xcel Energy Center for interviews by more reporters.
Charlie Plumb stepped up onto the platform in front of Minnesota's convention delegation and paced back and forth a few times.
Then he turned to the Minnesotans and told them that the 8-foot by 8-foot platform was exactly the size of his cell when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
He had the audience's attention and explained that during part of his 2,000-day-plus imprisonment, he was next to McCain. Being a POW does not qualify one to be a president, Plumb said, but it does help show a person's character.
Sarah Palin may not be well known to most Americans, but her hometown residents know plenty.
Minnesota alternate delegate Arles Kumpula of New York Mills said one of her sons just returned home from visiting another one in Alaska.
When he went through Palin's hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, he saw signs plastered all over the place proclaiming: "We will miss you."
The Palin pick surprised Alaskans, Ashleigh Leitch said.
Leitch, an alternate delegate to last week's Democratic National Convention in Denver, said the Minnesota and Alaska delegations shared a hotel in Denver and she was with Alaskans when McCain announced Palin would be his running mate.
"They had no idea," Leitch, of Willmar, said of Alaska Democrats.
The selection is puzzling because Palin was not really a national figure, wasn't vetted as well as other running mate contenders and has a short resume, Leitch said.