Former New York Governor George Pataki will speak in Des Moines tonight, the first of three Republicans to speak in a lecture series sponsored by a group that’s trying to lure more conservatives into politics.

"President Obama is obviously a bright, articulate, charasmatic, likeable figure, but I hoped that he would look to govern from the center once he won the election," Pataki says, "and we just don’t see this."

While Pataki is critical of the current governor of New York for pushing a bill that would make gay marriage legal in that state, Pataki says that’s the way to enact such a change.

"You want to have the elected representatives of the people vote when you’re making important policy decisions. You don’t want — in most cases — unelected judges, unaccountable judges declare by dictate what they believe policy should be," Pataki says. "When that happens, we have removed the elected representatives of the people from their primary role which is to determine policy and pass legislation."

Earlier this month, the Iowa Supreme Court issued a ruling which legalizes gay marriage in Iowa, starting April 27.

During a conference call with Iowa political reporters, Pataki brushed aside a question about whether he’ll run for president in 2012.

"I think part of the problem we have today is that the day after one election people are thinking about the election four years later," Pataki said. "…I’m not looking at all at 2012 bnow as we’re in the spring of 2009. I’m more concerned about having the candidates, having the ideas and having the resources so that those who share our belief in limited government can win this year and next."

Pataki’s trip and speech tonight at Drake University’s law school have been bankrolled by the American Future Fund. Pataki’s speech is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.