Newt gives Pawlenty thumbs-up for 2012 presidential run

For what it's worth, Gov. Tim Pawlenty is making friends in high places. Did these people even have a clue who Pawlenty was just one year ago? Doutbful. Now he's got Newt Gingrich singing his praises as the next Republican god. Eat it up!

The former House speaker talked about Pawlenty with Politico this weekend following his speech at the annual Americans for Prosperity conference in Washington. He basically stopped just short of full-out endorsing him three years before the election. That's some passion for another man.

"Governor Pawlenty is a terrific talent, he's a very attractive guy and he has a good reform record," Gingrich told Politico. The mullet wins!

More from Politico:

Pawlenty is "certainly going to be a player. There is every reason he should run, there is wide open field right now," Gingrich said. "He's an example that the future of the Republican Party is bright and that we have lots of talent."

"We need someone who is principled, articulate and practical. And I think Pawlenty would fit all three of those," Gingrich said. "It's a long way from starting to winning, as Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney and a lot of other people can share with Pawlenty. But it's great to have him out there."

"He's going to add new energy and more excitement to the game," the former Republican House speaker of Georgia said of Pawlenty. "He's going to draw more Republicans in and make our chances in 2010 even better."

Karl Rove also had nice things to say about Pawlenty last week. It's hard to see Pawlenty's growing popularity from the inside, but when you've got major Republican names talking him up, he must be doing something right.

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