[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/19/art.2tpawcpac0219.gi.jpg caption="Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty jokingly told conservative activists Friday that they can learn a few things from Tiger Woods' wife."]
Washington (CNN) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty jokingly told conservative activists Friday that they can learn a few things from Tiger Woods' wife.
"At this very hour or very shortly this morning a big event is happening in the United States of America," Pawlenty said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "Tiger Woods is holding his press conference at 11 o'clock eastern."
"Now, I think we can learn a lot about that situation," he said. "Not from Tiger but from his wife. She said, 'I've had enough.' She said, 'No more.' I think we should take a page out of her playbook and take a nine-iron and smash the window out of big government in this country. We've had enough."
The eyebrow-raising quip was a highlight in an otherwise low-key, morning talk delivered by the potential 2012 presidential candidate. Unlike former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who delivered a polished, rousing speech to the conservative audience on Thursday, Pawlenty opted to speak without a teleprompter and riff off his notes.
Having drawn an early time slot for his speech, Pawlenty spoke to a relatively low-energy crowd with in a ballroom with scores of empty seats. Though his speech likely won't draw rave reviews, the governor – who more often excels working small rooms - is maneuvering behind-the-scenes to endear himself to Republican staffers and activists at the conference.
Pawlenty stayed up late Thursday night at the Marriott Wardman Park at a cocktail reception meeting young Republicans and posing for pictures. And on Friday, his political action committee, Freedom First PAC, is holding a Georgetown fundraiser where the VIP guest will be Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a new star in GOP circles.