Time Magazine's Mark Halperin, who recently released a book about the 2008 presidential race, surmises today that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney are currently the two lone Republicans seriously campaigning for a run at the presidency in 2012.

Pawlenty and Romney, Halperin notes, are the only major contenders "engaged in the serious travel, staff hiring, contact building and general planning that are required to make a credible run for President."

He goes on to write that both men have little name recognition -- especially Pawlenty. "Even among donors, some leading Republican officeholders and the media — let alone the general public — [Pawlenty] is a virtual unknown."

Interestingly, Halperin concludes that Pawlenty "has barely touched ground in the early battlegrounds [states]." That had Hot Dish wondering what constitutes "touching ground," considering Pawlenty has already made two trips to New Hampshire and several more to Iowa.

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