McCain Adviser: GOP Must Address Climate Change

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks during a conference.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the chairman of the National Governors Association, speaks during a roundtable discussion on May 28 in Arlington, Va. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Republican brand needs some "freshening up" if the party is going to appeal to voters in swing states, says Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

"We now have a candidate in John McCain who is viewed as independent-minded and taking different approaches, who is a little on the leading edge of some of the emerging issues, like energy issues and climate change," Pawlenty, the national co-chairman of McCain's presidential campaign, tells NPR's Michele Norris.

Pawlenty says creative thinking on such issues will help the Republican Party seem more modern.

Pawlenty says there are "striking differences" between the Arizona senator and his rival, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, when it comes to energy policy. For instance, McCain supports offshore drilling for oil, as well as the creation of a gas tax holiday. Obama opposes both proposals.

The Minnesota governor's name has been batted around as a possible running mate for McCain. But when asked if he would take the vice presidential slot if offered, Pawlenty says he is happy with his day job.

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