Does Pawlenty have the most to prove at CPAC ?

Gov. Pawlenty will be speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. on Friday. He’ll be among several possible 2012 candidates who are scheduled to speak at the conservative event.

The National Journal interviewed several CPAC insiders and party leaders to get their thoughts on the 2012 field. They think Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin will be the top competitors in the weekend’s straw poll.

They also say Pawlenty has the most to prove:

“Everyone knows he’s working the inside game harder than anyone, so he’s got to prove he’s at least a Tier 2 candidate and show people something, or else he’s just another dude with a mullet.”

“Pawlenty has most to gain and lose since he is dying to be the alternative and has his people and new media folks salvating to pounce on this.”

“He simultaneously has the most well-organized proto-campaign at the moment and the least clear identity among conservatives. Conservatives just don’t know Pawlenty as well as they know most of the others — which means he has tremendous room to grow, but also a bigger hurdle to jump in the first place.”

Here’s more of the survey.

Pawlenty is scheduled to speak to the group on Friday morning at 9 o’clock Central. You can watch it live here. Anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist, with Americans for Tax Reform, will introduce Pawlenty.

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