(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
here we go, another Bobby Jindal
my thing is we have eight years of mess that bush did where was these guys then bush spend plenty money started a lie war where were you Tim
He has been a disaster for Minnesotans, Why the rest of the country would want him is a mystery,
It's either Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty as our next President in 2012 and it can not come early enough for me. If Secratary of State Hilliary Clinton runs then I would not mind her either as she is much more suited to be President than our current President. Very dissapointed so far in President Obama
OK ya,I would pay cash to see him speak if they gave it back to me afterwards.He is about as exieting to watch as watching grass grow.However at least he is a wee bit more exieting than that lame Hucker dude.His show sucks,and I would rather hear fingernails on a chalkboard than listen to that pathetic band.
Obama Silently Dispatched 13,000 Additional Troops to Afghanistan !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh Yes, we know how well they helped Romney in 2008.
We want Sarah to run, Tina Fey needs to get back on SNL.
the mayor of Minniapolis doesn't think much of him.
I voted for Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton. But when they decided "party first ", instead of "country first", I had no respect for them anymore.
Obama is going to silent any voices different from his. It IS VERY SCARY THING! I had been living in a COMMUNIST COUNTRY FOR 25 years and I know how horrible it was.
who gives a hoot about the evil CONS ervatives, even satan rejects them.....that should tell all of you something
This CLOWN don't have a chance, The GOP is HARMFUL TO AMERICA and need to be PUT IN THEIR PLACE!!!
Well Tim if you are thinking of running for the presidency just wait till you get in the white house.......there will be criticism from left, right and centre just like you are doing with Obama now.......
your turn will come...... if you do succeed!!
Go AWAY! We've had "pawlenty" of you already!
He looks like he should be selling Amway.
Great guy, hope he runs for Senate or President sometime...
Would someone please remind me what Tim Pawlenty has done for this country that causes him to feel he has any place to criticize President Obama ... ???
NOTHING as usual
Just another punk Republican with a big mouth that spews THE PARTY OF NO sound bites
I hope he does run for president so I can watch Obama crush him worse than he did McCain
Pawlenty isn't running because his approval ratings are to abysmal to consider running, Minnesotan's don't like this guy so I guess he figures he can dupe the RNC into nominating him since "at least he's no Palin".
Dream RNC tickets for the Democrats in 2012, Palin/Pawlenty or Romney/Pawlenty = either ticket ensures a Democrat landslide – LOL
This guy makes some sense – in fact, he is one of the guys who could really do something for the party and the people...
the current leaders are not worth a dime and a WASTE of time
Mr. Pawlenty doesn't do anything for me. One of these days, the Republicans will need to run someone who is more than a right wing nut with a happy face. I need to see their party working to solve the problems that I see in our country, not just mocking their opponents and whining about everything. I've never heard anytihng out of him besides attacks on Obama.
Who cares what this light-weight nobody says about anything?
Hey CNN, what do you mean "back" in the spotlight? Thanks to you this guy never actually left the spotlight! You just can't help but promote these irrelevant, nobody's (Palin too) any chance you get! Do you think we're all new here or something?You people seriously need to get a clue if you think that! Nice try though! Better luck next time!
Pawlenty is always a day late and a dollar short. He's done a terrible job as Governor here in Minnesota and now he thinks he can play on the national stage by suggesting health care options on the very day the Senate is voting? This is typical of his weird behavior.
America was not founded as a Christian nation. Our founding Fathers were DEISTS. They wanted Religious Freedom, and that includes Freedom FROM Religion.
susan> Uh. It's not so "silent" if some troll posting on a CNN board knows about it. Come on.
I'm still laughing at the people scared of having a Black president. Join the 21st century, eh?
Wow, reading all these comments sure suggests there are a lot of angry hate-filled liberals who will rant about anybody who doesn't share their view. You all sound immature and uninformed, everything you accuse conservatives of being. I guess you can add hypocritical to the list.
The GOP will never learn.
A platform of hate will do no better in 2012 than it did in 2008.
Why? You can't win without the middle, and the middle isn't energized by hate like the GOP base. The middle is energized by hope. Panderin' Pawlenty doesn't have a chance.