He may have dropped out of the running for the presidency, but Tim Pawlenty isn’t sitting on the sidelines – the former presidential candidate has endorsed Mitt Romney for president.

Pawlenty, who garnered early attention in his own presidential race but dropped out after a third-place showing in Iowa’s straw poll last month, threw his weight behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney Monday on Fox News.

“There’s one candidate in this race who’s unmatched in his skills and experience and talent when it comes to turning around this economy and growing jobs, and that’s Mitt Romney,” Pawlenty said. “I believe he’s going to be our party’s nominee, and I think he’s going to be a transformational and great president for this country.”

Romney’s private sector experience, Pawlenty said, was a deciding factor in his endorsement, along with his policy experience.

“Uniquely, Mitt Romeny, in this race, has a depth and scope of private sector experience – as an entrepreneur, as somebody who’s invested in, and started, and grown businesses – and importantly, grown jobs,” Pawlenty said. “His experience in the private sector amongst these candidates is unmatched.”

One of Romney’s biggest hurdles will be convincing voters that the health care plan he implemented as governor of Massachusetts differs from President Obama’s health care legislation – an issue that Pawlenty acknowledged was an issue on voters’ minds.

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