PAWLENTY: Well, because we needed to get some lift. You know, I'm from a small state. I don't have a big national financial network or political network. And so -- I think the measure of us in this phase was really, can you get some lift out of Ames to get the ante, if you will, to get to the next round? And that didn't happen, unfortunately. I wish it would have; it didn't happen. But even at a minimal level, you need to make sure that you've got that kind of ability to continue on and hopefully get some momentum, but that pathway doesn't appear available to me.
TAPPER: This must be personally devastating. I mean, you've worked very hard for this for a long time. And as a young politician, it's everyone's dream to be president of the United States. What is -- what is it like personally? I mean, I realize you get to spend more time with your family now, and you actually mean that, because you actually have a family you want to spend time with. But -- but how -- how difficult is this?
PAWLENTY: Well, first of all, I'm not so young anymore. I've turned 50, and I'm feeling the years there. But beyond that, it's not that difficult. I'm doing this because I love this country and I want to defeat Barack Obama, because I think he's got it on the wrong course. But I don't get my identity or my sense of worth or my values or my faith from politics. I first get it from my personal faith in God. And then I believe in this country. I love this country. I believe I can make a contribution to it. I thought I would have been a great president, but, obviously, that pathway for now isn't there.
TAPPER: You've said in the past that the Republican Party needs to be careful in not being -- and not be reckless in choosing the nominee. Do you think Michele Bachmann would be a reckless pick? You can tell me now, because you're not running anymore...
PAWLENTY: Well, the -- this thing is going to unfold over the next six, eight months. And this is a long road, as you well know. So all of these candidates, whether it's Congresswoman Bachmann, you know, Governor Perry, all the others, they're going to be tested. And this -- as you know, it's a big, bright light that comes down on you, and we'll see.
But I do believe that we're going to have a very good candidate who's going to beat Barack Obama. But Barack Obama's numbers aren't very good nationally, and in the swing states that are going to decide the election, they're terrible.
TAPPER: Right, but the wrong nominee...
TAPPER: ... could still lead to Barack Obama winning.
PAWLENTY: Yeah, that wouldn't be helpful. But sometimes, you know, what looks certain this summer will look different next summer. We don't know what's the right or wrong nominee. And all of them are going to be tested, and somebody who can thrive in this process will have their meddle tested, and they'll be improved. And so a lot of times you see candidates start out weaker, they get stronger over time, or start out strong and fall by the wayside. So we just don't know, but I'm confident that our candidate will be a strong candidate. We've got these wonderful ex-governors in the race, people...
TAPPER: Are you going to endorse anyone?
PAWLENTY: Probably eventually, but not anytime soon.
TAPPER: Would you be willing to consider being a vice president to one of these nominees...