Just three weeks after dropping out of the 2012 presidential race, ex-Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty tried to score a job as a Fox News commentator, according to Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast. But network president and Republican power broker Roger Ailes reportedly turned him down, apparently perturbed that Pawlenty was on the verge of endorsing Mitt Romney for president.
“I’m not sure I want to sign you as a paid spokesman for Romney,” Ailes reportedly told the erstwhile Republican contender.
Ailes' support is crucial for GOP hopefuls. According to an account by Walter Shapiro at The New Republic, the network's coverage has skewed pro-Perry since the Texas governor joined the race.
Shapiro, who watched 50 hours of Fox News in late August, writes that "it wasn’t hard to infer where the preferences of most Fox personalities lie," and quotes late-night host Gret Gutfeld, who said that “Mitt Romney is like somebody you hook up with periodically until you get serious and you want to meet somebody serious. He [is] friends with benefits. And Perry is marriage material.”
Had Pawlenty been given the job, he would have joined a crop of other Republican hopefuls with current or former ties to Fox News, from Rick Santorum to Newt Gingrich to will-she-or-won't-she candidate Sarah Palin. Gingrich and Santorum, still in the race despite anemic poll numbers, were suspended by the network in March. Later, the network terminated Santorum and Gingrich's contracts.