The Corner

Pawlenty, Sanford, and McCain’s Veep Dilemma

Yesterday I talked to two of the top contenders for the John McCain VP slot: Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford.  We covered a lot of issues, and what emerged was a dilemma for McCain: If he selects a running mate whose conservative credentials are beyond dispute, he’ll be choosing a candidate who likely disagrees with him on some issues of great importance to the Republican base.  On immigration, both Pawlenty and Sanford didn’t hesitate to say McCain had it wrong in the McCain-Kennedy bill.  And here are Pawlenty and Sanford on McCain’s signature achievement in the Senate, campaign finance reform:

“I’ve come to the point in my career, watching campaign finance reform, having been involved in it somewhat at a state level, that the premise that government can control this stuff, or should control this stuff, is flawed,” Pawlenty told me.  “No matter what they do to regulate it, it always seeps out somewhere else, so I think a better system would probably have to have full disclosure, real time, online, instant disclosure — but quit pretending, both as a constitutional principle, or as a matter of politics, that government can contain this.”

“What we ought to do is maximize disclosure, period,” Sanford told me.  “You’ll never completely take money out of the political process, and therefore, put it on the Internet, you can look it up tomorrow, you can see exactly where the money came from.  I mean, all we’re doing now is moving money to the 527s and all these other organizations as a way of circumventing limits.”

You can read the whole thing here.

Byron York is a former White House correspondent for National Review.

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