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

Pawlenty back in the spotlight

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/16/art.tpawlenty.gi.jpg caption="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. Jane

    The Gov has made a mess of Minnesota – I personally can't wait to see him leave office. As much as he's not here governing I think he should have taken a page from the former Alaska Gov & stepped down to do all his traveling.

    October 16, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Liberals are weak on defense? FDR and Truman were at the helm during World War II and we won that one, as you may recall.

    ACORN rigged the 2008 presidential election? Ha! They registered voters, but all those registrations had to be approved by the respective Secretaries of States – and then all those people had to go and vote. So your logic doesn't work that ACORN somehow controlled the outcome of the election.

    The "mess" you refer to was created by Bush/Cheney and the 6 years of control they had – you remember, that was when they lied us into a war that we were told would last 6 months and will be paid for by Iraq's oil; in truth, God knows when we'll get out and it'll cost us over $2 trillion.

    Regarding the Bush/Cheney record on defending America: THEY are the bozos who ignored the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled, "Al Qaeda Determined to Attack the U.S. Using Airplanes."

    Talk about naive and incompetent!

    October 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  3. Nobel (piece of ----) Prize

    If you compare him to our current POTUS, he has too much experiance...but then so does Ahhnold Schwarzenegger...

    October 16, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  4. bob in LA

    You would think the party of "morals and values" could find a better way to spend its time on weekends than holding all these conventions.
    If they have that much free time how about a little volunteer work?
    Unfortunately most of us "immoral, valueless" sinners are too busy trying to survive in the post years of their leadership.

    October 16, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. Preco

    Was he ever in the spotlight? Jokers!

    October 16, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  6. YBM

    This whole Obama thing is real fishy. I am no Hillary Clinton fan but Obama should never have been able to beat her in the primaries. A first term junior Senator that spent his first two years voting present and his last two years campaigning for the office of President, against Hillary's experience and popularity? and winning???? That by itself smells, but then to win the presidency of the US??? This whole situation is rank. No thinking or intelligent person would have voted for this guy. I guess it shows the dumbing down of America is working. America is being sent the same way the Roman Empire went and for the same reasons. Only a lot faster. At least the Roman's had a thousand years or so.

    October 16, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  7. Glen Beck is Rush Limbaugh's Evil Spawn

    I really kind of hope he wins the Republican't nomination. I'd LOVE to see this neo-con-wing-nut go up against President Obama in a debate . . . the Prez would wipe the floor with Whiney Timmy!

    October 16, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Pragmatic

    He's a conservative? That ends any interest I have in voting for him! This is the guy that cut so much spending, major bridges collapse, killing people due to lack of repairs .... this is the guy whose state took 7 months to seat a senator .... usual conservative leadership – cut spending no matter who it kills and whiny politics before the good of Americans... when your own state doesn't like your leadership ... that's a clue, my friends.

    October 16, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. SC

    Is he still the governor of MN? Why isn't he doing his job as a governor and talking about things/doing things that are none of his business?

    October 16, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  10. Glen Beck is Rush Limbaugh's Evil Spawn

    "America was founded as a Christian Nation"

    No, it really wasn't. Try reading a history book.

    October 16, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. Ted Tartaglia

    What is it with all these Repub twits. They seem to be trying to outdo each other in saying the stupidest, nonsensical things. Are they on a race to the bottom?

    October 16, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Jim

    I always love how people post on these blogs grilling Obama for being a Socialist. Every sinlge person in this country has benefitted from some form of socialism. Our roads, police/fire stations, public schools, military, and all forms of insurance function on principles of socialism.

    It really is too bad that so many people think socialism=communism. I would love to see people actually educate themselves and learn the definition of the word. Understanding the definition of capitalism would be nice too. Under pure capitalism roads would be privately owned. As would police and fire stations and the military. I'd love to see the free market work under that scenario. 🙂

    October 16, 2009 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. Four and The Door

    The Republican side of 2013 is turning out to be very interesting. I can't wait to see who the Democrats nominate. Maybe Olympia Snowe?

    October 16, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Death Panel moderator

    no Pawlenty(Little McCain)

    October 16, 2009 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
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