[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/08/24/art.pawlenty.jpg caption="Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that the Republican VP candidate will be able to handle Joe BIden."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, long-rumored to be on Sen. John McCain’s short list for vice president, told CNN’s “Late Edition” he isn’t concerned about newly chosen Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware.
Calling Biden “long-winded,” Pawlenty told host Wolf Blitzer, “I think any of the people that Senator McCain is thinking about for vice president will be more than able to hold their own against Senator Biden.” The Republican vice presidential nominee will get his or her chance to face Biden during the vice presidential debate on October 2 in St. Louis, Missouri.
Other names circulated in Republican circles for the number two spot on the McCain ticket include former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania governor; and Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Independent Democrat and longtime ally of McCain.
Pawlenty appeared on “Late Edition” today while campaigning for McCain in Pennsylvania. He has spent the last few months speaking on McCain’s behalf in battleground states such as Michigan, fueling further speculation that he’s being seriously considered for the VP spot.
On Monday he is expected to campaign in Ohio for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
When pressed by Blitzer if he expected to be McCain’s running mate, or if he felt ready to hold the office, Pawlenty refused to speculate. “I just don't talk about the VP speculation anymore.”