August 21st, 2009
10:05 AM ET
13 years ago

Pawlenty back in spotlight, again

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Pawlenty is set to make an appearance at another high profile GOP event."](CNN) – Call Tim Pawlenty "Mr. Main Event."

The Minnesota governor is the keynote speaker Saturday night at a major dinner hosted by the Republican Party of Florida. The speech will be seen by many who cover national politics as the latest high profile step by Pawlenty toward a possible run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Last month, Pawlenty addressed top party members at a Republican National Committee conference in San Diego. In October, the Minnesota governor heads back to California, as a featured speaker at the Western Conservative Political Action Conference.

Earlier this summer, the two term governor announced he would not run next year for a third term, a move seen by many as a signal that Pawlenty is interested in running for the White House. Since that announcement, Pawlenty has stepped up his criticism of President Barack Obama.

Earlier: Pawlenty wades into health care debate

"It is time we stand up to President Obama," Pawlenty said to members of the Republican National Committee. "It is time we stand up for our principles, and it is time we stand up for the American people."

An adviser described Pawlenty's appearance at the RNC as an opportunity to "introduce himself to an important group of party leaders and lay out the case for why President Obama's policies are taking America in the wrong direction."

Late last month, he teamed up with House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, to release a report that took aim at Democratic plans for health care reform. Since then, Pawlenty has increased his opposition to health care reform proposals supported by Obama and congressional Democrats.

Political insiders see Pawlenty's appearances at these high profile events and his outspokenness in taking on the White House and congressional Democrats as a sign the Minnesota governor is eyeing a presidential run in 2012.

"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 is smart to be spending the summer criss-crossing the country helping his fellow Republicans raise money. Those are chits he might be able to cash in later."

Regardless of his recent activities, Pawlenty doesn't register with many Republicans.

In a national poll conducted this month by Marist College, Pawlenty grabbed just one percent support of Republicans in a hypothetical horserace for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, far behind more well known possible candidates including Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Newt Gingrich.

The Marist survey is the latest national poll that suggests Pawlenty is in the low single digits when it comes to support.

"Some polls have shown Pawlenty with as much as four percent support, but none show him in double digits," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "It's not impossible to go from the governorship of a medium-sized state to the White House - Jimmy Carter did it in 1976 - but Pawlenty either has to boost his name recognition or hope that the major frontrunners all cancel each other out in 2012 and allow him to slip past them."

Filed under: Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Simp

    Another spineless republician shooting off his mouth. I always looked at this fool and felt he was the weakest link, in the same catagory as that stupid nit wit palin. He is no threat to President Obama for 2012, keep looking GOP, you have NOBODY still.

    August 21, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  2. a health economist

    You're darn right it's time for you to stand up for your principals. Be a leader. Get the Republicans to drop their government run health insurance paid for by the tax payer and purchase private health insurance where the free-market will prevent those with a preexisting condition from getting covered.

    Fight the growing deficit by demanding spending cuts in our biggest spending programs; Medicare, Medicaid and National Defense.

    Stop government intrusion into our lives by repealing the Patriot Act that allows warrentless search and seizures.

    Until you do all of that and more, you're nothing but an empty suit.

    August 21, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  3. Bev - NYC

    Tim Pawlenty for President , really, this guy is about as exciting as watching paint dry. Complete milquetoast!

    August 21, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. do it but do it right

    In the words of Sarah "the Barracuda" Palin, "THANKS BUT NO THANKS," Mr Pawlenty, I'm fine with who we have as President now, he actually thinks of all Americans at all income levels not the just the rich. So good luck, I wouldn't waste your presidential ambitions in 2012 but definately think about 2016 when your party might be a little more stable, but just make sure you don't fall in to the infidelity trap that some of your Republican Collegues have fallen into.

    August 21, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  5. Jon

    As a Minnesotan, I'm fairly sure Pawlenty has no chance on the national scene. Word around here is that he might not have even won reelection as governor, which isn't a good sign for higher aspirations. I kind of like him personally, but I don't think he has what it takes to be pres.

    August 21, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX, USA

    Pawlenty, another wannabe President like Palin and Gingrich!

    Obama – Biden 2012!

    August 21, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "It is time we stand up to President Obama," He further goes on to add "It is time we stand up for our principles, and it is time we stand up for the American people."

    Here's my question: who writes this clown's "jokes"? Because it is definitely a joke to have ANY Republican say that they want to "...stand up for the American people." The American people were postrated, with their pants around their ankles, their hands tied, in 8 feet of water by the Republicans. The RethugliKlans do not give a hoot for the American people, they care only about their own personal aggrandizement via the lining of their pockets. even if they have too do it by spilling the blood of innocent Americans in foreign soil. So please, save the drama for your momma. And by the way, you taking a stand against ANYTHING President Obama does is about the only principle that your party stands for.

    August 21, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. CJ

    This man is like Palin, needs to shut up and go away. He has NO knowledge, just the run of the mouth.

    August 21, 2009 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. Rush Goebbels

    Pawlenty, "the chipmunk", doesnt have a clue,and will never make it.Hey Rush,hiding out in L.A,you will have to do better than that,the IRS and Florida State tax people know where to find you.The Swiss Banks have given up the names of known tax cheats.hahaha

    August 21, 2009 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. Jim in Indiana

    What your saying is he is the leading light weight the republicans can come up with at this point. Looks and sounds like the same party that lead us over the cliff in 2008.

    August 21, 2009 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. Rex McKee

    Tim never stood up for the people in Minnesota, why is he preaching that now.....and let's be clear...the PEOPLE want the option for a PUBLIC option......(by the way, isn't that same option the gun lobby argues for, option.)

    Jesus sends us to heal the poor...period....never 'heal the poor, but only those with insurance from the for excess profit health care industry'


    August 21, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. notfooledbydistractions

    "It is time we stand up for our principles"

    After watching republicans during the bush admin, I have to laugh at the comment to stand up for their principles. They obviously have none. At least none that weren't for sale to the highest bidder.

    Principles like those shown by john ensign and mark sanford? Principles like their so-called fiscal conservatism that nearly brought this country to the brink of depression?

    Yeah, they talk a good game, but actions speak louder than words, and they're absolute frauds where "principles" are concerned.

    August 21, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. Reformed Republican

    Stand up for principles?
    Rethuglicans don't have any except for taking money from PACs and lobbyists, spreading fear at every opportunity and lying to get elected!

    August 21, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  14. the real Mike in MN

    Give me back Jesse Ventura back. Pawlenty is a guy who says he doesn't want to run for re-election in MN because he might face stiff competition and yet he wants to be president. That makes about as much sense as Palin quitting on the people who elected her to lead them and then saying she isn't a quitter.

    August 21, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Anne from MN

    I agree with the comment that he still on our payroll but please don't suggest that he should return to the state, we can't take much more of him.

    August 21, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  16. Steph

    Did he really say, "it's time to stand up to President Obama?" That is all the republicans have been doing. They have not offered any real solutions to any of the problems left by their incompentence over the past 8 years. So, basically this dude is more of the same from the right. Hmmm...doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results...what's that called again???

    August 21, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. D. Tree

    The Republicans have yet to present any new ideas, all they have done is obstruct Obama.

    Tim Pawlenty is the latest Republican to come out with the same tired Republican cliche's about taxes and spending.

    Well, you guys had your chance to put your conservative philosophy to the test and it failed miserably.

    The least you could do is give Obama a chance to implement his policies. If they are as bad as you claim, they will fail and you will be elected – if not.... well, I guess you would be proven wrong.

    I think the real reason the GOP wants to stop Obama's plans, is because they are AFRAID the plans will WORK and be POPULAR.

    August 21, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. Suzan

    We don't want you to stand up for us Americans, didn't you see the results of the election........we don't want your principles (we saw how you handled this country for 8 years and the real principles and morles of your latest GOP – Stanford) give the country a break and just shut up.......

    August 21, 2009 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  19. Willy Brown

    Buh bye Democrats....

    August 21, 2009 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
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