Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty raised doubts about his likelihood to become Sen. John McCain's Republican vice presidential candidate on Jan. 30, when he joined with Pennsylvania's Democratic Gov. Edward G. Rendell in support of the Senate Democratic leadership's economic stimulus package, which is opposed by President Bush.
Behind the scenes, Pawlenty has been opposed on the stimulus package by conservative Republican Govs. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Rick Perry of Texas.
Pawlenty and Sanford have been the two sitting governors most prominently mentioned as McCain's running mate. Pawlenty's activity in Washington lobbying for what conservatives call more handouts undermines him for vice president.
BERKELEY VS. MARINES
Conservative Republicans are trying to force a congressional vote on Berkeley City Council efforts to close the U.S. Marine Corps recruiting office in that city and provide special access for the CodePink radical antiwar group.
Rep. John Campbell of California promised to introduce the "Semper Fi Act" to rescind all federal spending for the city of Berkeley and transfer those funds to Marine Corps recruiting. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina announced he is planning similar legislation.
The very liberal Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee, who represents Berkeley, did not endorse the City Council's anti-Marine resolution but vowed to fight any effort cutting off funds for the city.