Washington (CNN) – Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty Monday became the first major Republican candidate to form a presidential exploratory committee - a step that allows him to officially start raising funds for a campaign and to take concrete steps towards mounting a run for the GOP nomination next year.
In a highly produced video posted on his Facebook page that contained images of himself as well as patriotic symbols, Pawlenty said he had seen the effect of job loss personally during his youth and referenced some of the economic hardships his state and others have faced more recently.
"Over the last year I have travelled to nearly every state in the country almost every state, and I know many Americans are feeling that way today. I know that feeling. I've lived it, but there is a brighter future for America," he said in the video.
He pledged to grow jobs, limit government spending and tackle entitlements.
"We've proved we can restore limited government in America. It takes fortitude. It takes unwavering faith and convictions and principles that made this country great," he said.
The formation by Pawlenty has long been expected as he has been traveling to key early-voting states recruiting advisers and reaching to various constituencies, including social and fiscal conservatives and tea party activists, as he lays out his vision for the country.
The two-term governor of Minnesota touts himself as a fiscal conservative and standing up to the state's unions and special interests. In the early years of his tenure the state had budget surpluses. With the effects of the recession still being felt, he left office earlier this year with a $6 billion deficit and higher unemployment than when he became governor.
"Unfortunately for the people of Minnesota, while Governor Pawlenty was out exploring states near and far, he failed those he was supposed to represent. Tim Pawlenty left our state facing the largest deficit in Minnesota's 152-year history, drove up property taxes and fees on middle-class families and small businesses alike, all while making draconian cuts to education that forced some schools into 4-day weeks," Minnesota Democratic Party Chairman Ken Martin said in a statement.
In the latest CNN/Opinion Research Poll gauging Republicans' choice for the GOP Nominee in 2012, Pawlenty ranks in the bottom tier of candidates garnering 3 percent of support. Polls this early in the contest, however, mostly reflect national name recognition.
"Thanks to low name recognition, Tim Pawlenty is without question the dark horse among the 'Tier 1' Republican presidential candidates. Pawlenty is wise to enter the GOP presidential sweepstakes early, because his fiscally conservative record as Minnesota's governor and his blue-collar message will resonate with Republican primary voters, but only if they get to know him," GOP consultant Ford O'Connell, who worked on the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign, said.
While the former two term governor only announced the exploratory committee on Monday, there is no doubt he will officially be running for the Republican nomination.
"There will be a formal announcement" later, a senior Republican official with knowledge of Pawlenty's plans told CNN Monday.
The exploratory committee will be based in Minnesota, a source close to Pawlenty tells CNN.
No one even knows who he is #fail. The Republican 2012 hopefuls have all been pathetic.
Who cares, mr. dull tea party does not stand a chance.
Fiscal conservative? He left his state billions in debt, and he expects anyone with a brain to....wait, he's trying to appeal to conservatives, so its ok that he never accomplished anying after 2 terms. The real question is, how is he going to make the gap between the 1% at the top and the rest of us even wider? Thats the sign of a healthy America! Go Guilded Age!
Would that be for a colonoscopy? I don't see why he would waste his money on anything else! :)
Pawlenty doesn't have a snowballs chance. But by all means, announce, run, and split a party that already has regional support at most.
You are a Right Wing "Radical" Lier,Mr. Pawlenty. Why in heavens name would "ANY" middleclass or decent working people vote for you? Take your Partys Extremism Propaganda some where else beside America? Can you show us your "Birth Certification" please? lol
Yawn......wake me up when he bows out. This genius left Minnesota with a $6billion dollar deficit claiming he didn't raise taxes. He didn't solve one problem and created many.
Being from MN we know that Pawlenty was once a "center republican". But as he started to look nationally, his move to the far right was obvious. And it doesn't fit him. For those of us who have watched him, his move to the right is so fake. He will claim to be fiscally responsible. He imposed "license fees" and then said: "I didn't raise taxes". He cut aid to cities - and said: "I'm a fiscal conservative". In the meantime, cities had no choice but to raise property taxes. He then said: "see, I didn't raise your taxes, it's your local officials". He refused to negotiate in fear of being viewed as "weak" when it came to the democrats. He is proving to be a pawn - and pandering to the far right. This country deserves an honest debate between Obama and a republican who is willing to put forth his/her own visions and philosophy without worrying whether they'll be cast out by the far right. It would be great to have a national leader emerge from MN... but Pawlenty isn't that person. Sadly, many of us who have voted republican in the past won't vote for Pawlenty going forward. He's become the epitome of "the suit".
Go GOP! Anybody but Obama! GOP 2012. Fight for the nomination but be civilized.
Will someone close to Pawlenty please tell him that you need charisma to run for President. Tell him to step aside because we don't want to see Obama reelected..
This guy has Pawlenty of crap to say if he hasn't got the OK to run for president then he should just hang it up the republican party is not going to spend what little money they have on a loser this party of idiots got control of the house and what have they done on anything except take action on social matters to play up to there base which are senior citizens its not about jobs but to prey on easy targets like government workers or teachers they don't get it people want jobs that pay as well as government workers they don't want to be working a crap job that doesn't pay leave that to the mexicans because our laws in this country will not protect workers rights and we know were the republicans stand don't we
Another republican loser running for President! When are the republicans going to find candidate with a brain?
I just can't take T-Paw seriously. He looks like he has no backbone and I hear just a bunch of empty rhetoric when he speaks.
" ... such a committee allows candidates to start raising money" - Newt can tell you about that one folks, he raised $14 Million the last election cycle under his "committee" administered by HIM and since he never filed to enter the race, could spend it all, which he's almost done – he spent $13.8 Million. Don't send your money to any candidate that has not filed the paperwork to officially run. It's a real scam
He doesnt have a snowballs chance in hell of getting elected. He will never be able to create enough money.
this guy is a dumb guy...and lacks knowledge....totally a nonsense talker...
Just get it formed and stop trying to hog the headlines. I don't care if he runs anyway. He brings nothing to the table.
He'll just make Minnesota look bad! I mean, we already look like bumbling buffons. We don't need this. Go home, Pawlenty. We've had plenty of you.
Go for it Timmy. But you're wasting money. You will never get support in the double digits.
As shallow as it sounds, the real truth is that Pawlenty is not electable due to his looks, demeaner and smugness he demonstrates as a first impression. The other real truth is that he is of the Boehner camp and carries some real heavy baggage from the lock step services he performed.
Even if Pawlenty is near the bottom of the list, he would make a much better POTUS than nobama, anyday!
Seems everybody and their dogs are running for president. This should be fun.
America needs a better president... NO MORE OBAMA!
This guy let an uncared-for bridge collapse, and then an uncared-for gas line ruptured. If he couldn't even take care of the infrastructure in ONE CITY, why would we trust the whole nation to the nitwit?
NO WAY !!
This slick smarmy piece of work sent my state of Minnesota down the drain with his eight years of mismanagement. He is one of the slimiest politicians I have ever seen. He is so misguided and deluded that he thinks he has a shot at this. He's in for a rude awakening when the nation sees that he's on par with a used car salesman as far as character and trust go.