Pawlenty Announces Presidential Bid in Iowa

Pawlenty Announces Presidential Bid in Iowa

By Nicholas G. Hahn III - May 23, 2011

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty officially entered the presidential race Monday, pledging to take on government spending and be honest with voters about the difficulties facing the country.

"We live in the greatest country the world has ever known," Pawlenty said in Des Moines, Iowa. "If we want a new and better direction, we're going to need a new and better president."

As he did in an op-ed published in USA Today on Monday, Pawlenty attempted to cast himself as a leader unrestrained by conventional political calculations. He pushed for phasing out energy subsidies, including those for ethanol. "The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs," he said.

He also took on President Obama directly, bluntly stating, "We've tried Barack Obama's way, and his way has failed."

Pawlenty's official entrance into the race comes a day after Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels announced his decision not to make a run for the White House. In the wake of his decision, both Pawlenty and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman are looking to round up Daniels' supporters and potential donors in an attempt to establish themselves as the leading alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

By choosing to announce in Iowa, Pawlenty again highlighted the importance of the state to his 2012 hopes. And at a time when Republican voters are concerned about the economy and the national debt, he is banking on the fact that blunt talk about the large issues facing the nation will trump local interests.

"Politicians are often afraid that if they’re too honest, they might lose an election. I’m afraid that in 2012, if we’re not honest enough, we may lose our country," he said.

Nicholas G. Hahn III is Deputy Editor for RealClearReligion.

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