By Daniel Strauss - 09/12/11 12:04 PM EDT
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) endorsed former Massachussetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) on Monday.
Pawlenty, who dropped out of the presidential race after a disappointing showing in the influential Iowa Straw Poll, called Romney "the complete package" and said that Romney's economic experience was a deciding factor in winning his endorsement.
"What I want to say is this: I know all the candidates in the race for president in 2012 —I know them, I respect them but the next president is going to have to lead on economy and jobs in a historic way and there's one candidate who's unmatched in his skills and experience and talent when it comes turning around this economy and that's Mitt Romney and I'm proud and excited to endorse him for president of the United States," Pawlenty said. "Mitt Romney can turn this country around because he's a turnaround person who's done great success when it comes to growing jobs in this economy."
Pawlenty, who had regularly hit Romney for his Massachusetts healthcare law while he was in the presidential race, said that Romney was committee to repealing the Obama administration healthcare reform legislation.
"Mitt Romney is one hundred percent committee to repealing Obamacare," Pawlenty said.
Pawlenty will serve as the Romney campaign's co-chairman and said he would not be considered for the Republican vice presidential nominee.
"You know, I'm not going to consider being v.p. I was down that path once before with John McCain and I'm not even going to consider that," Pawlenty said. "So I'm going to do what I can to help Mitt in this race but I that won't be part of the future for me."
In a statement, Romney said that Pawlenty would be a "trusted adviser" as co-chairman.
"It is an honor to have Governor Pawlenty’s support," Romney said. "Tim will be a trusted adviser as I move forward with my campaign. Tim has always been an advocate for lower taxes, reduced spending, and an environment where jobs can be created. It is an honor to have him serve as co-chair to my campaign for the presidency."
In the same interview Pawlenty also jabbed Romney opponent Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for writing in his book Fed Up! that Social Security was a failed program. Pawlenty said Romney wanted to fix Social Security which was also the former Minnesota governor's stance. In the last few weeks Romney and Perry have repeatedly hit each other on their stances on Social Security.
"Governor Perry has said in the past that he thought it was failed," Pawlenty said.
In a followup email Pawlenty doubled down on Romney's economic qualifications for winning his endorsement.
"Mitt Romney is running for president, and I am proud to endorse him," Pawlenty said in a email blasted out by the Romney campaign shortly after he appeared on Fox and Friends. "Romney is running for president because he is deeply committed to our country, troubled by its current condition, and I believe he can turn it around."
—This story was last updated at 8:43 a.m.