Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images
Tim Pawlenty is bailing on Mitt Romney's floundering presidential candidate to become Wall Street's top lobbyist.
The former Minnesota governor announced he's signed on as CEO and president of the Financial Services Roundtable, the leading Washington trade association for the financial services industry, and will step down as a national co-chair of the Romney campaign.
Pawlenty ran unsuccessfully in the GOP presidential primary and was considered a top contender to be picked as Romney's running mate. He might have been in line for a cabinet position should Romney win this fall. In recent weeks, however, Romney has fallen behind President Obama in the polls, after running virtually neck and neck for most of the summer.
Pawlenty's new job starts November 1st, five days before Romney faces voters.
The Financial Services Roundtable was a major player in lobbying to weaken the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation passed in response to the 2008 banking crisis.
As a presidential candidate, Pawlenty talked tough about reining in Wall Street. "[L]ater this week I'm going to New York City to tell Wall Street that if I'm elected, the era of bailouts and handouts for big banks is over," he wrote in a 2011 USA Today op-ed.
For his new gig, he'll likely need to change his tune.