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Reading the Pawlenty tea leaves

From NBC/NJ's Carrie Dann
DENVER -- Where in the world is Tim Pawlenty?

With the Minnesota governor in Denver to continue his role as a GOP surrogate during the Democratic convention here, reporters were bent on determining where he stands -- or rather where he'll be standing tomorrow morning.

Pawlenty, a much talked-about vice presidential prospect, said that he is "scheduled to be and plans to be" doing a weekly scheduled radio show from the Minnesota State Fair tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. He told reporters that he will be leaving Denver this afternoon, bound for his home state.

The interest in Pawlenty's whereabouts comes amidst news that McCain will debut his vice presidential pick in Dayton, OH tomorrow.

The Minnesota governor would not answer any questions about the vice presidential process, including a volley of queries about how recently he has spoken with his party's presidential nominee. "I refrain from answering any questions relating to the VP selection process," he said. "We're going to allow Sen. McCain to make that announcement."

Pawlenty's tea leaves offered little news to reporters hungry for the veep scoop, but don't miss this answer from another GOP surrogate present at the morning press conference. When Sen. Jon Kyl, McCain's Arizona colleague, was asked if the Republican Party would be deeply divided if McCain was to pick a pro-choice vice presidential nominee, he responded that his Arizona colleague is a "strong conservative."

"But" he added, "he has also willing to take on orthodoxies and to be a maverick at times. Certainly not to be President Bush on certain key issues. And I think the American people respect that."

"If the American people believe and the Republican Party believes that John McCain has good reasons, sound reasons, for making the judgments that he makes," Kyl continued, "then I think that they will be very very supportive of him regardless of who he selects."