Pawlenty Pulls in 2012 Cash

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty raised nearly $800,000 over the past three months through his political action committee and two-state based organizations, bringing his fundraising total to nearly $3.4 million since launching the operation late last year.

This is just the latest in a string of overt signs pointing to Pawlenty's presidential aspirations.

The lion's share of the T-Paw's fundraising between July 1 and September 30th came from his Freedom First federal PAC, which brought in $565,000. The governor raked in another $135,000 from his Iowa state PAC and another $86,000 from a similar state PAC in New Hampshire.

Iowa and New Hampshire are crucial states in presidential politics and the fact Pawlenty has active political action committees in those states is lost on precisely no one within political circles.

Pawlenty raised over $1.8 million through Freedom First, trailing both former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney who have raised $2.5 million and $3.6 million this year respectively.

Although it is fair to point out that Pawlenty does have a day job as the Governor of Minnesota, and spent a week in Iraq and Afghanistan and also led a week-long trade mission to China.

Though in theory the purpose of PACs like those run by Pawlenty, Romney, Palin and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is to support other candidates through contributions, it's become common practice for potential presidential candidates to use these committees to pay for political staff and travel before actually declaring their own candidacies.