Pawlenty Plans Ahead for 2012

Last summer, when names were being floated as potential running mates for John McCain, one of the names that kept popping up was Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.  Around that same time, Pawlenty suddenly started showing up on the national Religious Right scene, conducting outreach on behalf of the McCain campaign by sitting down with CBN’s David Brody where he talked about the importance of “my faith in Christ” and promised that McCain would “make evangelicals proud.”

He didn’t get the position as McCain’s running mate, but that didn’t stop him from continuing with his outreach to the Religious Right, this time on his own behalf, like when he showed up at CPAC a few months later and exhorted the audience to make sure that faith in God remained at the “forefront of the values, principles and issues” of the conservative movement and then made similar claims at the recent Values Voter Summit about how “Judeo-Christian values are … the basis for so much of our country.”

All of this outreach to the Right suggested that Pawlenty was seriously considering making a run for the White House in 2012.  And indeed that looks to be exactly the case:

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) has enlisted a number of GOP strategists from John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, another sign that he’s planning a run for president in 2012.

Pawlenty has snagged a stable of well-known Republicans to help host his first fundraiser for the Freedom First PAC, his new political action committee, according to an invitation to the kickoff event in Washington obtained by The Hill.

Shoring up the party’s brightest political minds early could prove to be an integral step toward mounting a presidential bid. He’s also making his first official trip of the new presidential cycle to Iowa next month, another important move.