Axelrod thinks Romney should choose Pawlenty

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“I’ve been saying Pawlenty for four months," Axelrod continued. "The reasoning, as a strategist, would be: He is acceptable to the right and the evangelicals, but he’s not scary to moderates. He’s good on television. He’s been through this."

“Of all of those you have heard of, he’s got a pretty good TV style,” Axelrod continued.  “He’s cool. He’s casual. He can be colloquial. I would be surprised if they didn’t pick him. And I think Romney’s kind of not looking for risk.”

And Axelrod said Pawlenty's short-lived presidential campaign could be an advantage, not a strike against him.

“Even though it was an abortive attempt [at the presidency], he has some sense of what this national thing is like," Axelrod said. "He’s got a good working-class story, which is probably a good complement to Romney, and he’s been out there defending him. He’s proven his commitment and loyalty. So, for those reasons I expect Pawlenty. He’s not a Washington guy. He doesn’t have the Bush taint that Portman does."

National Journal's Major Garrett wrote that the Obama strategist "seemed genuine" in his analysis of the VP pick.

That's in contrast to earlier in the week when, in what seemed to be a strategic ploy, Axelrod needled House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) for not choosing House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as his VP favorite. Many saw the comment as a hint that Chicago could be rooting to face the Wisconsin lawmaker.

"Interesting that Boehner weighed in [for] Portman as VP and not his own member, Paul Ryan," Axelrod tweeted. "Is he feeling the weight of Romney-Ryan budget on GOP?"

Axelrod also echoed the sentiments of traveling press secretary Jen Psaki, who said Wednesday that the Obama campaign would "much rather have Vice President Biden on our side campaigning across the country, in the debates, out there standing up for the president than any of the motley crew that Mitt Romney is choosing between.”

Axelrod said Biden's experience and reliability was a huge asset to the campaign and he saw a similar upside with Pawlenty.

“I know people laugh because they say ‘Biden, he makes mistakes, and blah, blah, blah.’ The truth is, one of the reasons [Obama] picked Biden is, he had been through it and he wasn’t going to be a shock to [Obama’s] system. That was really important. Pawlenty has some experience in the national thing, and he’s been in debates," Axelrod said.