It was an eventful weekend for 2012 horse-race politics. Hermain Cain got in, Mitch Daniels demurred, and Tim Pawlenty announced that he'll formally kick off his presidential bid with a rally in Iowa today. The former Minnesota Governor's campaign released a short online video late Sunday confirming earlier reports that Pawlenty was preparing to officially jump into the race. Unlike several of Team T-Paw's previous over-produced, movie trailer-style offerings, this clip adopts a less ambitious, steady tone -- and therefore strikes me as fairly successful:
T-Paw's inaugural campaign event is scheduled for early this afternoon in Des Moines.
UPDATE - The first words out of Pawlenty's mouth in the above video are, "I could give a speech" [to announce his entry into the race] -- and a speech he shall deliver. Excerpts from today's prepared remarks:
"I'm Tim Pawlenty, and I'm running for President of the United States. We live in the greatest country the world has ever known. But, as we all know, America is in big trouble, and it won't get fixed if we keep going down the same path. If we want a new and better direction, we need a new and better President."
"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. … I'm going to take a different approach. I am going to tell you the truth."
"The changes history is calling on America to make today cannot be shouldered only by people richer than us, or poorer than us - but by us, too. 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. If we want to grow our economy, we need to shrink our government. If we want to create jobs, we need to encourage job creators. If we want our children to be free to pursue their dreams, we can't shackle them with our debts. This is a time for truth."
Pawlenty's making a strong play for middle class voters, an approach that paid dividends throughout his successful career in Minnesota politics. Expect Pawlenty to regularly highlight his middle class roots as a means of injecting his biography into the campaign and distinguishing himself from several other notable primary competitors.