It’s been ten months since Tim Pawlenty exited the race for the Republican presidential nomination. But the former Minnesota governor has emerged as one of Mitt Romney’s most forceful surrogates in the months since, selling the former Massachusetts governor’s 2012 bid even more passionately than he sold his own.

That’s probably why Pawlenty’s name has been frequently mentioned as a possible vice presidential running mate for Romney this fall. It’s a position that Pawlenty has repeatedly said he doesn’t want, but his presence here on day one of Romney’s five-day bus tour of six key battleground states is unlikely to quiet that buzz.

The ex-governor introduced Romney on stop two of his tour, an ice cream social that drew several hundreds of supporters to quaint town square in this southern New Hampshire town.