- (Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
Tim Pawlenty, the co-chair of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, announced on Thursday that he would step down from his position after being named President and chief executive of the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbyist group that supports financial service companies.
While the Romney campaign tries to wade the water during a rough week and push the negative attention back on President Obama, the campaign's co-chair has stated that he will step down.
Tim Pawlenty, a former governor of Minnesota, has stated that he still support Romney as a candidate, but will step down to take the lead for the Financial Services Roundtable.
"It is an honor to call Mitt and Ann my friends," Pawlenty said in a written statement released by the Romney campaign. "As the campaign moves into the home stretch, he has my full support and continued faith in his vision and his policies."
Romney is still facing controversy for revealing his makers vs. takers viewpoint in a leaked video taken during a private fundraiser. While Romney stated that he regretted losing Pawlenty, he added that his former co-chair's new position was "vital to the future of the country."
"Tim Pawlenty is a dear friend," Romney said in the same statement. "He's brought energy, intelligence and tireless dedication to every enterprise in which he's ever been engaged, and that certainly includes my presidential campaign."
"While I regret he cannot continue as co-chair of my campaign, his new position advancing the integrity of our financial system is vital to the future of our country," Romney said. "I congratulate him."
Pawlenty was considered as a possible running mate for Vice President before Romney selected Congressman Paul Ryan in hopes that his budgetary abilities would prove to be valuable assets to the campaign.
Pawlenty's move to become a lobbyist was questioned by some, who stated that the former co-chair was looking for a better pay raise.
"My time in public service was rewarding and focused on achieving results," Mr. Pawlenty said in the statement. "I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve, but I am now moving on and committed to focusing fully on this new opportunity."
In the past, Pawlenty had commented that he was only a volunteer.