Being suitable lifts Pawlenty stock in veep hunt 12 Jul 12

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – As a presidential hopeful, Tim Pawlenty won respect, if not support, among GOP insiders, social conservatives and the tea party movement.

Almost a year after he abandoned his White House bid, Pawlenty’s reputation as being suitable but not a standout is actually fueling the speculation that the former Minnesota governor is a serious contender in Republican Mitt Romney’s search for a running mate.

To hear insiders tell it, the earnest Pawlenty might end up satisfying many Republicans without risking the unwelcome distractions that could result from a running mate who is flashier than the nominee, who has close ties to an unpopular past administration or whose background has largely avoided scrutiny.

Pawlenty himself isn’t giving any clues even as Republicans debate the pros and cons of a Romney-Pawlenty ticket.