The words he probably wanted back (and didn't repeat in the afternoon): "Say what you will about Barack Obama, people gravitate when you have something positive to say."
But he comes with his own catchphrase! "We want to be the party of Sam's Club, not just the country club," Pawlenty said in his veep's audition at the National Press Club. "People deserve and expect a more effective government at a better price."
What's the most important trait in a vice president? "Discretion," Pawlenty said.
"Sketching a profile that in many ways describes himself, the 47-year-old governor said a new generation of Republican leadership is needed to find new ways to engage voters who are worried about the future but who see the GOP as a party of business elites," Kevin Diaz writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
"Even if Gov. Pawlenty doesn't wind up on Sen. McCain's ticket, some believe the Minnesota governor represents the party's future, along with a handful of other relatively young governors, including Louisiana's Bobby Jindal," John D. McKinnon and Douglas Belkin write in The Wall Street Journal. "They have become the public face of what is seen as the party's reformist wing."
Terrible timing for the Mittster: "A former executive who says his boss pressured him to contribute to Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has filed an employment-bias complaint that offers a rare glimpse behind the curtain of big-money corporate fund raising," JoAnn S. Lubin and Mary Jacoby write in The Wall Street Journal. "Emails from [Gary] Holdren refer to conversations with Mr. Romney, deals Huron supposedly won from Romney supporters at other firms and promises to reward Huron executives with 'business for your contributions.' "
Also in the news:
A small item that could mean a whole lot: "Bob Barr and Ralph Nader, the best-known third-party presidential candidates, are on their way to getting onto most state ballots," USA Today's David Jackson reports.
Obama isn't the black candidate Nader wants him to be. "People who have fought the civil rights battle -- politically, economically, legally -- as we have since the 50's would often talk about, 'Look what would happen if we had an African-American president or chairpersons of major congressional committees,'" Nader said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast, per ABC's Teddy Davis. "It doesn't look like it's going to be what we all thought it would be."
Mr. Nader isn't black. From Matt Bai's stellar piece in the forthcoming New York Times magazine: "The generational transition that is reordering black politics didn't start this year. It has been happening, gradually and quietly, for at least a decade, as younger African-Americans, Barack Obama among them, have challenged their elders in traditionally black districts. What this year's Democratic nomination fight did was to accelerate that transition and thrust it into the open as never before, exposing and intensifying friction that was already there."
Cue the campaign issue: "An election-year standstill in Senate confirmation of George W. Bush's judicial nominees will give the next president a chance to tip the ideological balance of U.S. appeals courts that decide such issues as job discrimination, national security and pollution-cleanup disputes," Bloomberg's James Rowley reports.