October 16th, 2009
01:40 PM ET
9 years ago

Pawlenty back in the spotlight

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the keynote speaker Friday night at a major conservative conference.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the keynote speaker Friday night at a major conservative conference.

(CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is the keynote speaker Friday night at a major conservative conference. If that sounds familiar, there's a good reason.

Pawlenty's announcement earlier this year that he would not run next year for a third term as governor was a tip off that he was considering a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

Since then, Pawlenty has been very visible, speaking out against the Obama administration and appearing at a number of major Republican and conservative events. He also became vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, and has campaigned for the GOP gubernatorial candidates in New Jersey and Virginia, the two states that hold gubernatorial elections this November.

The visibility continues Friday night, when Pawlenty gives the keynote address at Western Conservative Political Action Conference (WCPAC).

"Governor Pawlenty will talk about his successful record of governing as a conservative in a traditionally liberal-leaning state, including balancing the budget every year without raising taxes," say Alex Conant, an adviser to Pawlenty. "He is very concerned that President Obama and Washington Democrats are running up debt that our nation can not afford. He'll discuss how the Democrats' big-government proposals will take health care in the wrong direction, and detail how he's improved health care in Minnesota by containing costs."

Pawlenty has been increasingly visible. He was one of the main speakers at a Republican National Committee conference in San Diego in July, the keynote speaker at a Republican Party of Florida dinner in August, and a speaker last at the Value Voters Summit in Washington and at the biennial Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island, Michigan.

At the Michigan conference, Pawlenty defended his nationwide appearances and said he plans to continue

"The point is, I have the time and the energy and the ability to make some time to speak out to issues that I think are important to my state and to the country," said Pawlenty.

Next month Pawlenty will be the keynote speaker at an Iowa Republican Party fundraiser. That event should raise more speculation about a possible 2012 White House run since the Iowa caucuses kick off the presidential primary calendar.

Also coming up for Pawlenty, his first fundraisers for his new political action committee. Next week Pawlenty comes to the nation's capital for a fundraiser for "Freedom First" PAC, which will be followed by what Conant terms a PAC kick-off in Minneapolis in early November. The PAC allows Pawlenty to raise money to help elect fellow conservatives and Republicans in 2009 and 2010. Pawlenty also joins such other possible 2012 contenders as Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, who all have established PACs.

"Pawlenty will be a serious candidate for the Republican presidential nomination if he chooses to run in 2012," said CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. "He has an impressive resume and is well liked by the conservative base. He was smart to spend part of the summer criss-crossing the country helping his fellow Republicans raise money. Those are chits he might be able to cash in later."

The Minnesota governor also signed up a number of Washington political veterans, some of whom advised Romney during his 2008 presidential bid.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: Obama administration • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. cal

    Lets hope they have a well stocked bar, this clown is boring as HELL!!

    October 16, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. DemonBiker

    I liked what she was wearing!, So Meghan is 24yrs.old does she like older men?, If so I single!!!!

    October 16, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. Jake

    don't bother wasting the campaign money. you will never be elected!

    October 16, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. The Voice

    You mean the all White Neo-con Conference.

    I hope he wins the GOP primary. Obama will kick his tail in 2012!

    October 16, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Andi

    Very visible 'speaking out against the Obama administration'. Hmmmm. That's his right, but instead of focusing on 'speaking out' against everything, how about 'speaking up' and suggesting what he thinks would be good for the country – it's not enough to say 'Obama is bad'.

    With all the things he's said and done, perhaps he forgets that everything is recorded these days. He better watch his step. He'll get eaten alive by the media if he makes too big of a stink.

    October 16, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  6. victim of republican greed

    Pawlenty will make a great 'hate czar' for the wingnuts.

    October 16, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. mike

    hey conservatives get real you are an old dying breed give it some time and we will find pawlenty doing what they do best cheating on there wives or playing around in the public bathrooms

    October 16, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  8. victim of republican greed

    Tim is a lightweight who could not carry Palin's dress.

    October 16, 2009 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. www.firedoglake.com

    Let's all pray for Pawlenty to run and win his bid for the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination.

    He's already shown us exactly what he'd do to get the nomination.

    He'll be easy to defeat, though President Obama should not forget about the millions of average people – Progressives and Liberals across the country- who helped him in 2008 and whom he'll need to win again in 2012.

    October 16, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  10. Hugo

    Hey maybe Pawlenty can get Castro, Chavez, Putin and the rest of the Socialist and Communist dictators to back him, then the progressive liberals could back him like they have Obama....

    October 16, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    You guys complain of boobs and then look at them plus more, when you think no one is paying attention? This intense moralization of everything we do is nauseating. Leave Megan's boobs alone, right wing nuts! BTW, on a serious note, why is it that most GOP bible-touting nut wings either never get married, or have more divorce rates than the so-called un-Godly liberals? CNN, please post this as I need an answer from Ann Coulter, the witch.

    October 16, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Diana NJ

    Pawlenty would be a respectable candidate if he would stay away from the crazies and be moderate as he use to be..

    October 16, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. dumbfoundedbytexans

    Yeh, he's back in the spotlite alright......everybody's paying attention to him....just like they pay attention to the burning paperbag of dog crap on their front porch. People pay attention because they don't want that [R] STENCH around them.

    October 16, 2009 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. cnn=right wing media and works for sarah "death pannel" palin

    He is a joke

    October 16, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Jim

    well ... first off, i live in mn ... the value of my house decreased last year and my taxes on it were higher, so there's an "untruth" there somewhere ...

    perhaps more importantly, i am suspect as to the reasons mr pawlenty is (potentially) seeking higher office. i really dont think he's pondering it for the betterment of our country.

    October 16, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. BobH


    October 16, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |

    I wish he was president now. instead we have 4 years with this socialist, naive, inexperienced, primadona as president. After we take back congress in 2010 and pawlenty wins the presidency in 2012, we will have such a mess to clean up. the country has been goin down the tubes ever since 2006 when the libs took control of congress and our national budget. That is of course if we still have a country because of the weakness of liberals when it comes to our defense. The intelligent people in this country which iare the conservatives and independents have finally seen what the dems are about. its too bad they didnt listen to us and voted for this tomato can for a president. All of that "yes we can" bull@#!% wont work this time. There will be no more ACORN to rig anymore elections. Impeach Obama. Now thats change we all can believe in.

    October 16, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. ThinkAgain

    Here's my theory on the Republican strategy for 2012, courtesy of Karl Rove:

    All these GOP early-bird candidates have absolutely no chance of winning the White House. However, with their rabid politics, they serve the purpose of keeping the GOP "base" in a froth and engaged.

    Meanwhile, George W. Bush is keeping a low profile so either he or his brother, Jeb, can make a run for the White House.

    It's all part of trying to make President Obama and our country fail, regardless of the consequences to the American people.

    Party Before Country! That's what the GOP is all about.

    October 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. normajean

    I don't understand how Mr. Pawlenty and the other Republicans can find so much time to face the camera with their views on everything and can't find enough time to work towards easing Americas problems.Everything they have to say revolves around their own little personal part of the world unless they want to complain that someone else isn't getting all the things done that they should.Reminds me of my kids when they were little.Grow up Repubs.

    October 16, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. 60's survivor

    same o same o.

    October 16, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  21. DT

    Wow...he needs to get it through his thick skull...he has no chance...

    October 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. CW

    I may not agree with Pawlenty on many things but I'm happy to see someone other than Sarah Palin represent the GOP. It would be nice to see the country return to intelligent and thoughtful debate rather than the mindless twaddle from the likes of Palin, Beck, Rush, Hannity, Coulter...

    October 16, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Foreigner that watches? CA

    PALIN/BACHMANN 2012!!! October 15th, 2009 9:20 pm ET

    America was founded as a Christian Nation and the Real Americans are taking back our country!!! Were going to clean the terrorists and lyin africans out of the white house and congress!!!

    I had to post this.

    So conservatives – this is the type of people you associate with. Thi is your point of view – REVEL in in! Are you proud?

    And you wonder why the world frowns upon you. Read that post again, and just maybe some of you will begin to understand by Obama recently was awarded the NPP. Much to the chagrin of the GOP and Al Qeada.

    It is nice to have a POTUS that actually understand America is part of a global community.

    As for the previous post – whoever wrote that is a dinosaur waiting on extinction...

    October 16, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. JG


    October 16, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. RTB

    What a joke.

    October 16, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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