Politico: John McCain portrayed her as a trailblazing model for aspring female politicians yesterday and now one of his top surrogates and vice-presidential prospects is taking the next natural step and promising that they’ll compete for Hillary Clinton’s supporters.

“I think many of those voters are going to consider and support Senator McCain,” said Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty in an afternoon conference calldesigned to prebut Obama’s speech tonight in St. Paul.

Pawlenty even compared the two senators, saying they shared important traits of experience and tenacity.

“They see and saw in Senator Clinton somebody they value experience in and, in many cases — in terms of her personal characteristics — her persistence and strength,” the governor said of Clinton’s backers. “Many of those same characteristics and more are in Senator McCain. So we think he’s going to be able to compete for Senator Clinton’s supporters to a significant degree when and if she terminates her campaign.”

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