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Pawlenty veep talk worries some

ST. PAUL - Minnesota's political pundits like to speculate on Gov. Tim Pawlenty becoming Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate.

To Sen. Steve Murphy, Pawlenty going to Washington would be a disaster. It is not because he likes Pawlenty so much; it is because Lt. Gov. Carol Molnau would then be governor.

Murphy, DFL-Red Wing, said that is a frightening possibility. He is very critical of what he calls Molnau's incompetence running the Department of Transportation.

Pawlenty soft-pedaled the possibility he could become McCain's running mate the other day, but in talking to reporters he was noticeably less adamant about staying in the governor's job until his term expires in early 2010. In the past, he has vowed not to leave office early.

Molnau said she is ready to become governor if needed. However, she added, "we have not had that discussion."

Fueling speculation was the Pawlenty for Governor campaign committee's report that he raised more than $850,000 in the past year, a time he wasn't running for office.

Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.