(Photo: Reuters / John Gress)
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty began the day by making the rounds on television and radio programs in his first “official” day on the 2012 presidential campaign trail. He signaled his intentions on Sunday by posting a YouTube video, but made his formal announcement shortly before noon CDT today in Des Moines, Iowa.
“President Obama’s policies have failed. But more than that, he won’t even tell us the truth about what it’s really going to take to get out of the mess we’re in.” Pawlenty started in his remarks.
“President Obama doesn’t have an economic plan,” he went on to say.
Pawlenty, a two-term Minnesota governor, began his career in 1989 as a city councilman before winning a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives and rising to the post of Republican leader. As governor, he maintained his fiscal conservative stance with no major tax increases.
Pawlenty’s announcement paves the way for many conservative supporters awaiting the intentions of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who indicated last week he would not seek the 2012 Republican nomination due to “family reasons.”
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and former Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas) were two Republican heavyweights encouraging Daniels to seek the nomination.
While Pawlenty’s announcement may encourage some large donors to quickly jump into his camp, tea party loyalists are closely watching fellow Minnesotan Rep. Michele Bachmann’s intentions, along with those of former Alaskan Governor and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Pawlenty was passed up for vice president in place of Palin.
Although Pawlenty earned his political stripes as a fiscal and social conservative, he will tout his experience in running a “blue” state as a Republican.
“In Minnesota and in Washington, the issues were the same; taxes, spending, health care, unions, and the courts. But in Washington, Barack Obama has consistently stood for higher taxes, more spending, more government, more powerful special interests, and less individual freedom. In Minnesota, I cut taxes, cut spending, instituted health care choice and performance pay for teachers, reformed our union benefits, and appointed constitutional conservatives to the Supreme Court. That is how you lead a liberal state in a conservative direction.”
Pawlenty is an evangelical Christian who attends Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., where the pastor is Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
Other Republican contenders who have made their bid for the White House official are former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), and businessman Herman Cain.