Very interesting comments from Tim Pawlenty, one of Romney's surrogates, on the January 11, 2012 edition of "Face The Nation". Apologies in advance if this was posted earlier.
(CBS News) In the latest episode of "Face to Face," Bob Schieffer interviews former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Watch the interview above or read the transcript below:
Bob Schieffer: Well Governor, it's always good in politics to meet expectations.You not only won, but about the margin people said you needed.
Governor Tim Pawlenty: Well that's exactly right, Bob, and last night Mitt Romney did something historic. As a non-incumbent candidate he's now won both Iowa and New Hampshire and as you well know, that's not easy to do and it gives him tremendous momentum and tailwind going forward.
Schieffer: Let me ask you a little bit about Ron Paul who wound up second. He beat Governor Romney amongst independents. Is that going to be a problem and how can he turn that around?
Pawlenty: Well at least in the context of the Republican primary Mitt Romney and Ron Paul appeal to different messages in part. They don't agree on everything, but that's why you have a coalition -- in the end the conservative coalition is going to have to come together, it consists of defense conservatives, economic conservatives, social conservatives, Tea Party types, libertarian types. And Mitt Romney's challenge as the nominee - and the opportunity - will be to unite that coalition. And Ron Paul speaks very passionately to one part of that, but we're going to have to make sure we have everybody on board the Romney team.
Schieffer: Somebody said that Ron Paul may be your very best friend because as long as he stays there and continues to get a sizable percentage of the vote, it keeps the other candidates from -- or the other voters from coalescing around one single conservative. Are you glad to have Ron Paul where he is?
Pawlenty: Well all the voices in the campaign and the debate are important, but keep in mind Ron Paul may also be attracting some people coming into the process who are new or who otherwise wouldn't be in the process, so it's not necessarily a one for one correlation between everybody voting for Ron Paul then they go somewhere else. He may be attracting new people in the process.
Schieffer: But if this race came down to Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, you'd be kind of happy about that, wouldn't you?
Pawlenty: Well I think Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee and I hope that he is, I'm working hard to accomplish that, but we have to tip the cap to Ron Paul. Like I said, he doesn't agree with Mitt on everything but he came in second in New Hampshire, he had a respectable showing in Iowa, and he shouldn't be dismissed like a lot of people just kind of brush him off and say well he's not a serious candidate -- he's doing well in these early states. But look, with six or seven candidates in the race it's going to have to distill down here in the final stages.
Schieffer: Well he's doing very well among young people. Why do you think that is? Because he wants to legalize marijuana, and is kind of relaxed about drug laws?
Pawlenty: Well I think there's a number of things going on in the Ron Paul support group, one of which is more of a libertarian philosophy generally, but clearly he has the appeal to some young people, he's got a more tolerant view of some social issues, he's antiwar, you know he wants to bring home the military from the war, that's a very different view then - in many cases- then Mitt Romney's view. But certainly some young people find the Ron Paul message attractive.
Schieffer: Do you -- is it of concern to you all that this may go right down to the Convention and then he will form a third party and run as a third party candidate?
Pawlenty: I don't think he'll do that, Bob. You know Ron Paul has a strong message, he hasn't said that he's going to run as a third party -- he hasn't ruled it out, but I really don't believe he's going to run as a third party candidate. I believe in the end he's going to be part of a conservative Republican coalition to win the presidency.
Schieffer: That would certainly be your hope.
Pawlenty: It is our hope for sure, yes.