JACKSON, Mich. — After a brief speech at the opening of a campaign office here, Tim Pawlenty was asked if he would return to Michigan “when you’re vice president.”
“We’ll know soon enough,” Pawlenty, dressed in shirt sleeves, told the crowd with a chuckle.
Hank Choate, the chair of the Jackson County Republicans, asked the former Minnesota governor what his schedule is like Friday, asking a question many of the reporters in the room were trying to determine.
Pawlenty answered that he would be in New Hampshire. Pawlenty is doing four events in the state Saturday for the state party and the Romney campaign.
Choate then invited Pawlenty to a barbecue here on Sept. 23.
“As the VP, we will welcome you with open arms,” Choate said.
Pawlenty then told the crowd of about 30 that Romney “can’t make a bad pick.”
“If you look at the leaders currently or the next generation leaders in the conservative moment across this country there’s unbelievably talented wonderful people,” Pawlenty said before naming many of them.
“You’ve got this tremendous new governor in Nevada Brian Sandoval,” Pawlenty said. “If you haven’t heard of him, you will. He’s terrific. Susanna Martinez in New Mexico, the first Hispanic Republican woman governor in the history of the country. Bobby Jindal in Louisiana, tremendous reformer, outstanding governor and leader. Marco Rubio, the rising star and senator from Florida. Then you go up to South Carolina, you’ve got Nikki Haley the governor of South Carolina, Bob McDonnell in Virginia, Chris Christie in New Jersey, Rob Portman and Paul Ryan, the budget chairman. And many others. David Petreaus.”
When Pawlenty mentioned Rubio he got a smattering of applause from the group.
Pawlenty also relied on a few new campaign staples to describe President Obama “all foam, no beer.” While accusing Obama of being anti-business while insisting he is “pro-jobs,” Pawlenty likened it to being “pro-egg and anti-chicken.”
Michigan is Mitt Romney’s home state and both Pawlenty and Romney’s son Josh are here this week trying to turn the state red in November.
Pawlenty has an event later today in Kalamazoo and in a Detroit suburb Thursday. He then fundraises on behalf of the Romney campaign through the state Thursday.