Huffpost Politics

Tim Pawlenty: Ron Paul 'Shouldn't Be Dismissed' Ahead Of 2012 South Carolina Primary

Posted: Updated:
After Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul placed second in the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney supporter and former GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty said the Texas Congressman
After Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul placed second in the New Hampshire primary, Mitt Romney supporter and former GOP candidate Tim Pawlenty said the Texas Congressman "shouldn't be dismissed."

In an interview Wednesday with CBS News' Bob Schieffer, Tim Pawlenty discussed the challenges Mitt Romney faces following his victory in New Hampshire, particularly coming from second place finisher Ron Paul.

"Well I think Mitt Romney is going to be the nominee, and I hope that he is, I'm working hard to accomplish that," Pawlenty said. "But we have to tip the cap to Ron Paul. Like I said, he doesn't agree with Mitt on everything but he came in second in New Hampshire, he had a respectable showing in Iowa, and he shouldn't be dismissed ... He's doing pretty well in those early states."

The former Minnesota governor endorsed Romney in September, following his decision to end his own presidential campaign.

Paul, who won 22.9 percent of the vote (as opposed to Romney's 39.3 percent), narrowly beat the former Massachusetts governor as the favorite among independent voters. However, Pawlenty expressed doubts that Paul would attempt to run as a third-party candidate. "I believe in the end he's going to be part of a conservative Republican coalition to win the presidency," Pawlenty said.

Paul has not ruled out a third-party candidacy if he does not win the Republican nomination.

When asked about possible threats from Newt Gingrich's deep-pocketed supporters in South Carolina, Pawlenty said that voters wouldn't "fall for glossy TV ads." He also dismissed what many have seen as a lackluster group of candidates: "Among this field, Mitt Romney is really the varsity playing the junior varsity," he said.

Around the Web

Ron Paul Celebrates Historic Second Place Win in New Hampshire ...

Romney Secures Front-runner Status With New Hampshire Win ...

CNN projects Romney win in New Hampshire, battle heads to S ...

South Carolina in spotlight after Romney win in N.H. - CNN.com

Romney's New Hampshire Victory Sets Stage for South Carolina ...

Ron Paul 2012 Polls

2012 South Carolina Primary News, Candidates, Polls - POLITICO ...

Romney Looks Strong in South Carolina and Beyond - NYTimes.com

Could Stephen Colbert Beat Jon Huntsman in the SC Primary ...

Ron Paul in S.C. Wednesday - SC Republican Primary - TheState.com

Ron Paul in South Carolina: He brings anti-war anti-Fed message

Ads bombard South Carolina airwaves ahead of primary

Jon Hunstman trails Stephen Colbert in South Carolina poll [Video]

Battleground: South Carolina | 01.11.12

SC's DeMint: GOP needs to 'embrace libertarian ideas'

Romney Rivals Turn to South Carolina 'Crossroads' After Losses

Ron Paul Sets Eyes on Nevada, Latinos

The Dark Art of South Carolina Primaries

“You Going to South Carolina?”