WASHINGTON (CNN) - Gov. Tim Pawlenty is rolling out a new political action committee on Thursday and announcing a fleet of new advisers - the first concrete signs that the Minnesota Republican is actively working towards a presidential bid in 2012.
Pawlenty's PAC, called "Freedom First," has the ostensible goal of helping to "elect conservatives in 2009 and 2010." But the genial governor is also flexing some political muscle with his new organization by signing up a number veteran Washington hands, several of whom advised Pawlenty's likely 2012 rival - former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney - during his 2008 presidential bid.
"Right now, our freedoms are being challenged on many fronts," Pawlenty said in a statement. "This organization is dedicated to putting freedom first again in America. By helping candidates and translating our ideas into policies that everyone can relate to and support, we can turn back the growth of Washington and renew the promise of freedom."
Pawlenty will hold his first "Freedom First" fundraiser in Washington in late October, an aide said, followed by another "major" fundraising event in Minneapolis on Nov. 4.
The PAC will be chaired by a pair of GOP heavy hitters - William Strong, a Morgan Stanley vice chairman who was a top donor to George W. Bush and John McCain, and former Minnesota Rep. Vin Weber, who advised Romney in 2008.
But the day-to-day planning of the committee will be managed by former Republican Governors Association executive director Phil Musser, former Bush-Cheney 2004 political director Terry Nelson, and former Bush White House political director Sara Taylor.
Heading up communications strategy will be Alex Conant, a former Republican National Committee spokesman and Minnesota native who has been volunteering for Pawlenty throughout the year as he's traveled the country meeting with Republican groups.
The PAC is also accompanied by a new Web presence, TimPawlenty.com, that will be managed by Patrick Ruffini, Mindy Finn, Patrick Hynes and Liz Mair, four of the GOP's most respected new media strategists.
Pawlenty convened a conference call with conservative bloggers early Thursday morning as part of the rollout.
Where was Pawlenty 7 years ago when our freedoms were being trampled on. And does this mean that Pawlenty thinks Obama is a Nazi, putting him in lock step with fellow MInnesotan Michele Bachmann?
What the Governor should be rolling out is a personality. This guy is as exciting as watching paint dry. Not a great start getting the same cronies behind the Bush/Cheney spending till it breaks years to run his PAC.
More rhetoric from a guy who's been a questionable govenor. A guy who veto's increased funding for transportation infrastructure then 5 months later the busiest bridge in downtown Minneapolis collapses and kills 13 people. The same guy who just recently cut funding for Hennepin County medical center- the biggest and busiest hospital in Minnesota causing a shortfall leading to increases in property taxes. In the same breath can't figure out why the nation needs health care reform.
This guy played the middle poorly and now wants to make a right turn so he can be president. This man is a republican and will sell out prinicples for votes and talk about fiscal responsiblity while the world falls down around him.
Guess he's the Great White Hope that the Republicans have been praying for.
Better write a book.
Freedom!!! Who did more than Bush to limit our freedoms.
"Right now, our freedoms are being challenged on many fronts,"
Really, Tim . . . really??? What freedoms, EXACTLY, are being challenged???? More empty rhetoric from the party of NO answers and NO help for the American people!
He doesn't have a chance of winning ...
"Right now, our freedoms are being challenged on many fronts," says Pawlenty. Yep. From the Republicans who turned Clinton's $200 Billion Surplus into a $1.5 Trillion debt, started a false war, killed 5,000+ American soldiers, enacted fiscally disastrous policies, ignored the Constitution, and constantly lie about anything that will help Americans... especially Health Care Reform. Pawlenty has been a disaster for our state and anyone who thinks he would be any better on a national level is as delusional as the 'Death Panel' idiots.
He will not get my vote. He plays too many games.
Is this the same guy who stated he cut off funding for ACORN but never sent funds to ACORN.
Well its a clear sign that Pawlenty is going to run for president... because on the "pac" website under the news section there's an article titled "Gov. Pawlenty Paves Way for a 2012 Run"
he can go ahead and run.. President Obama will defeat him easily.