Former Minnesota Gov. made a stop in Royal Oak on Thursday afternoon at Mitt Romney’s Victory Center at 30701 Woodward Ave.
Pawlenty, a potential vice presidential pick for Mitt Romney, is campaigning for the Republican presidential hopeful in Michigan this week. On Wednesday he spoke to approximately 30 people in a campaign office in Jackson and Thursday he was greeted by more than 200 Romney supporters in Royal Oak.
"I love Michigan," said Pawlenty, 51, after the closed-press meet and greet event. "It reminds me so much of my home state of Minnesota—from the agriculture to the northern woods to that Midwest work ethic."
Pawlenty, a one-time Republican candidate for the nation's top political position in 2012, floundered after a third-place finish in the straw poll in Iowa last summer. But he is now speculated to be on Romney's short list for a vice presidential running mate. A month after the Iowa poll, Pawlenty backed Romney as a presidential candidate.
After Thursday's appearance in Royal Oak, he met with a small group of reporters who questioned his whereabouts over the several days, speculating he might be called to join Romney for an announcement.
But Pawlenty had no comment on the possibility of becoming Romney's vice presidential nominee.
Instead, Pawlenty said his main message to supporters gathered Thursday was that "Obama has had his chance."
"The economy is a mess," Pawlenty said. "We need a change in leadership and a new direction, and Mitt Romney personifies that."
"Pawlenty makes a good impression," said grad Robert Morelli, 20. "He is more interesting in person than he has been portrayed in the media. I think he would be a good pick. He is very down to earth."
Morelli said he likes that Pawlenty talked about "replacing Obamacare, rather than getting rid of it."
Pawlenty told supporters the Republican position is very different than President Barack Obama's position on everything, said Regina Turner of West Bloomfield.
"He asked us, "Do you want to continue with Obama?' and we all shouted 'No!" Turner said.