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Hoeven rooting for Pawlenty for VP

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty doesn't know if Sen. John McCain will ask him to be his vice presidential nominee, but North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven is rooting for him.

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"I sure hope so," Hoeven told reporters Friday just before Pawlenty spoke at a Hoeven campaign fundraiser at the Fargo Holiday Inn.

Pawlenty said he is "focusing on his day job" and that McCain has not talked to him about joining the ticket.

Pawlenty sought to inspire 365 party faithful with a late-evening dinner speech. He assured them that Republican values "are going to prove correct over time."

He urged Republicans to stay positive and use the 2006 Republicasn election defeats as "a chance to get regrouped."

Entry to the dinner required membership in the $125-per-person Governor's Club (or $30 for those under 30).

The two Republican governors joshed each other about football and hockey games between the states' universities.

"This is good stuff," Hoeven quipped about the new rivalry in football. They told of Pawlenty being booed in Grand Forks at a University of North Dakota vs. University of Minnesota hockey game and the 65,000 fans watcher the Gophers and Bison face off in football.

On more substantial matters, Pawlenty and Hoeven said they have yet to have intensive discussion on the issue of whether Minnesota will levy special charges on electricity generated from North Dakota coal and consumed in by Minnesota consumers.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission has petitioned the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to reconsider its plan to charge for carbon dioxide emitted by North Dakota power plants.

"That discussion hasn't taken place yet, but it will shortly," Pawlenty said.

The Minnesota PUC would charge Minnesota consumers between $4 per ton and $30 per ton of carbon dioxide for North Dakota electric power. The increased cost would greatly harm North Dakota's coal and power plant industry, state and industry officials have warned.

Pawlenty, whose penchant for travel in recent months has drawn analyses about how often he is out of state, has responded by saying that he has only traveled out of state eight weekdays and all the rest is weekend travel.

But in his dinner speech, he told an anecdote about standing in front of his mirror at home recently and bemoaning his receding hairline, graying hair, crows feet and that he's traveling so much he hasn't worked out much and is getting love handles.

He said he turned to his wife and asked her to say something positive.

"Hey, man, there's nothing wrong with your eyesight," Mary Pawlenty said.

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