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Pawlenty endorses Romney: A blow to Rick Perry?
In advance of Monday's big debate, Romney snares the support of an ex-rival — potentially causing trouble for his new chief rival
 
Mitt Romney has won the backing of ex-rival Tim Pawlenty, and some wonder whether this is the beginning of a GOP establishment shift away from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
Mitt Romney has won the backing of ex-rival Tim Pawlenty, and some wonder whether this is the beginning of a GOP establishment shift away from Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Monday has been a good news-bad news kind of day for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. A new CNN/ORC International Poll placed Perry firmly ahead of the rest of the GOP presidential field, and the Texas governor also just bagged a key endorsement from Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. But Perry was also slighted by former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who officially announced his endorsement of Mitt Romney. Pawlenty, who dropped out of the presidential race following his underwhelming performance in the Ames Straw Poll last month, is now predicting that Romney would be a "transformational and great president." Will the rest of the Republican establishment soon be lining up to defeat Perry?

This doesn't hurt Perry at all: "I'm wondering if anyone truly cares who the first person to drop out of the race endorses," says Kevin McCullough at Hot Air. Pawlenty doesn't hold much public sway. And with Perry currently leading by more than 15 percent in some national polls, Romney will need more influential supporters than Pawlenty to make headway.
"Yay…Romney gets Pawlenty's 2 percent, only 28 percent more to go to catch Perry!"

Actually, Pawlenty might convince other GOPers: While Pawlenty never really commanded much national attention as a candidate, says Adam Sorensen at TIME, his "quick backing of Mitt Romney" could affect the race significantly. Endorsements can have a domino effect, so Pawlenty's advocacy could persuade other "high-profile Republicans sitting on the sidelines" to throw their support to Romney as well. And God knows, Romney needs it to overcome Perry.
"Tim Pawlenty becomes a Romney surrogate"

It's all about the VP slot: Pawlenty's true intentions are clear, says David Weigel at Slate. "In his first three seconds as a Romney surrogate, he's on message attacking Perry." T-Paw may have told Fox and Friends on Monday that he's not interested in being Romney's running mate, but I'm not buying it. Politicians typically wait until later in the race to endorse a candidate. By throwing his support so early, Pawlenty "looks loyal." In fact, "he looks like a possible running mate."
"Pawlenty announces big to be Mitt Romney's vice president"

 

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