Speaking on ABC's "This Week," Pawlenty, who was on the short list of many political prognosticators, said he had not expected to join the Romney ticket and called Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a "terrific pick."
"I'm excited for Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan," Pawlenty said. "I didn't support Romney because I expected to be vice president, so I'm not disappointed I didn't get something I didn't expect."
Pawlenty joined other Republicans in predicting voters would be attracted to Ryan's reputation as a financial conservative and would not be scared off by Democratic ads predicting a Romney administration would throw senior citizens under the bus by gutting Medicare.
"It is an important debate," Pawlenty said. "But unlike the president, they're actually willing to lead, they're actually willing to put specific proposals on the table, and I think the American public will respect and appreciate that."
David Axelrod, senior adviser to President Obama, told ABC adding Ryan to the ticket would probably only inspire the Republican right wing and would have a chilling effect on the majority of voters who are uneasy about having one of their safety nets stripped away.
"He is outside the mainstream, but this was a defining choice for Mitt Romney, and now it's also a clarifying choice for the American people," Axelrod said.