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Pawlenty to Be at State Fair When McCain Announces Pick

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, on the short list of possible GOP vice presidential picks, said he plans to be home at the state fair for a radio show appearance Friday, when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is expected to announce his running mate.

Pawlenty was the main attraction at a press conference to highlight Republicans’ argument that Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is “not ready” to be president. Pawlenty referred all questions about the ticket to the McCain campaign.

“On issues relating to the vice presidency, that’s obviously Sen. McCain’s decision,” Pawlenty said. “The McCain campaign will be making those announcements [Friday] presumably.”

Pawlenty was joined by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), former U.S. Treasurer Rosario Marin and Texas Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams. At the press conference, sponsored by the Republican National Committee, Pawlenty made the case that tonight’s speech at Invesco Field at Mile High will likely be a spectacle, but what’s important is defining the candidate after the show is over.

“So we have a situation where there is a very gifted orator,” Pawlenty said. “And the question that I have and I think many other Americans have is, ‘Sen. Obama, what have you done and what have you run?’ And if you look at those two questions, I think the answer is ‘not much’ and ‘nothing.’”

Pawlenty also acknowledged that while some have criticized the backdrop for Obama’s speech tonight as being too similar to a Greek temple, he again said what matters comes after the show is over.

“I think the real point is, does this just feed into the growing perception that what we have here is one big glitzy production that is focused on oratories and teleprompters without the underlying substance?” Pawlenty said.

The RNC also showed a “Not Ready” video with commentary from former presidential candidates Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Joe Biden (D-Del.), expressing concerns about Obama’s credentials to be president. Obama has tapped Biden to be his running mate.