Last week Pawlenty, who is not running for re-election next year, opened a national leadership political action committee and unveiled a team of national political advisers that suggest the Midwestern governor is eyeing a 2012 presidential bid.
Among those advisers are Iowans Sara Taylor and Terry Nelson, who were key advisers to President George W. Bush’s 2000 and 2004 campaigns.
Pawlenty has also built up goodwill among some GOP activists in Iowa, where he campaigned for 2008 GOP presidential nominee John McCain, including before the leadoff nominating caucuses when the Arizona senator’s campaign teetered on financial collapse.
He wasn’t RPI’s first choice. Chairman Matt Strawn had invited Sarah Palin originally for this dinner or any other event she’d like to have. Essentially an open invitation to come to Iowa. Politico reports that her spokesperson, Meg Stapleton said the timing was too difficult.
Palin adviser Meg Stapleton said the former governor is still interested in a visit to the Hawkeye State, but that they couldn’t fit the dinner in.
"With the Governor’s accelerated book schedule and other travel obligations, the timing was just too difficult to make a firm commitment,” Stapleton said, adding, “We look forward to another opportunity."
And I know that many of us would love to have her, as she was well received the last time she was here. With her book, Going Rogue: An American Life coming out on November 17 it’s already #1 at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It is already a best seller at Borders and in the top 50 for pre-orders (they don’t rank as far as I can tell). That may incite (or quash) speculation about her intentions in 2012. Regardless, I hope she’ll include Des Moines on a book signing tour.