Pawlenty Forms Presidential Committee
Former Minnesota governor can begin fundraising
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2011 2:52 PM CDT

(Newser) – Tim Pawlenty today formed an exploratory committee, taking the "initial steps" toward a 2012 run for the Oval Office. "With all due respect for President Obama, I think he's taken this country in the wrong direction," Pawlenty told a conference call. "(The country is) in trouble and it needs a new direction and it needs new leadership." This procedural step means that T-Paw can start fundraising, in addition to being the first Republican to become a non-speculative bidder, Politico reports.

In a video posted first to Facebook fans and later to YouTube (at left) the Minnesota native recalls seeing the ugly face of industrial decline—and ensuing job losses—as he grew up. But he sees a path forward: " Encourage the dreamers and innovators, the small-business owners, the hard workers, the brave men and women throughout this country’s history who have asked for nothing more than the freedom to get ahead without government getting in the way.”