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Pawlenty leaves Romney, lands lobbying gig

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ST. PAUL -- Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is no longer presidential candidate Mitt Romney's chief surrogate after accepting the top job at a major lobbying group.

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The Politico website reports Pawlenty is the new head of The Financial Services Roundtable, a major lobbying organization for financial institutions.

Pawlenty, who dropped his own White House bid more than a year ago, had been the most-seen stand-in for Republican candidate Romney.

"Pawlenty would immediately elevate the roundtable's profile in political circles," Politico reported.

The former governor "is exactly the kind of leader we need to continue to improve our industry's reputation, advocate firm-but-fair regulation and help maintain our global leadership of the financial markets," said Tom Wilson, chief executive officer of The Allstate Corporation and chairman of The Roundtable.

As soon as his job was announced, Pawlenty announced that he would leave as co-chairman of the Romney campaign. He said he is looking forward to "working closely with decision makers from both parties on issues related to our nation's banks, insurance companies and investment firms so that they can continue to provide fuel for America's economic engine."

Pawlenty had been on Romney's short list of running mates, but he lost out to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.

"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," Romney said about Pawlenty. "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."

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