[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/21/art.paw.gi.jpg 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.
"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."