Michigan's Republicans invite Pawlenty to speak

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 2, 2009 - 8:25 PM

The Michigan GOP has announced that Pawlenty will be a featured speaker at the party's Sept. 25-27 Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island.

Minnesota's peripatetic Gov. Tim Pawlenty is headed back on the Republican campaign trail this month.

The Michigan GOP has announced that Pawlenty will be a featured speaker at the party's Sept. 25-27 Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference on Mackinac Island.

The biannual gathering is generally seen as an informal audition for the already-brewing 2012 race for the Republican presidential nomination.

Sharing the bill at the conference will be former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, whose fundraising and recent travels have provided ample evidence that he's planning a second presidential run.

Pawlenty, who has pointedly criticized Romney's health care reform initiatives in Massachusetts, more recently has repeatedly blasted the Obama administration's national health care overall plans, as well.

In announcing Pawlenty's appearance, the Michigan party called him "a leader in the GOP's response to the Democrats' push to have the federal government take over the health care system" and "an effective, conservative governor in the Great Lakes region."

Pawlenty, recently given the high-profile campaign post as vice chairman of the Republican Governors Association, has demurred when asked about his future political plans.

But since announcing in June that he would not seek a third term next year, he has been crisscrossing the country on behalf of the party, fueling increased speculation that he, indeed, has his eye on a 2012 run.

BOB VON STERNBERG

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