In a series of network television news interviews Monday morning, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he is running for president to tackle the nation's economic issues while acknowledging that he is not going to be the flashiest candidate in the field.
"I'm not running for entertainer in chief. These are serious times and they need serious people with serious solutions, so if you are looking for the loudest or a comedian in the race, vote for somebody else," Pawlenty said on NBC's "Today."
"I'm running for president to get this spending and out-of-control federal government back in control and to grow this economy," Pawlenty said on CBS' "The Early Show."
Hotline On Call reported last week that Pawlenty would kick off his campaign today, but he preempted his own launch late Sunday afternoon, releasing a web video in which he announced his candidacy and sought to distinguish himself from President Obama.
Pawlenty went after Obama on foreign policy during his interview on ABC's "Good Morning America," saying, "this treatment of his in recent days and hours of Israel and opening up the question of Israel's security, by specifically embracing those 1967 borders I thought was another misstep."
The former Minnesota governor launched a presidential exploratory committee in March and has long been widely expected to mount a White House bid. He will appear later this morning in the early state of Iowa at a town hall event in Des Moines. He is then headed to Florida on Tuesday and will appear in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
"We've tried Barack Obama's way -- and his way has failed. Three years into his term, we're no longer just running out of money," Pawlenty will say in his announcement address, according to excerpts from his campaign. "We're running out of time. It's time for new leadership. It's time for a new approach. And, it's time for America's president - and anyone who wants to be president - to look you in the eye and tell you the truth."
Pawlenty's first official campaign event comes just a day after Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
announced that he will not run for president. For months, the second-term governor and former Office of Management and Budget director mulled a presidential bid, but in the end, he decided against a run, citing opposition from his family.
For Pawlenty, Daniels' absence from the race means one less Midwestern pol
to compete against in Iowa, a state in which the former Minnesota governor is expected to compete.
Along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
, Pawlenty is viewed as one of the early favorites in the GOP race, despite being unknown to many voters across the country. He has been spending time in the early states, building a network of respected advisers, reaching out out to working class Republican voters, and underscoring his own blue-collar background.
But as National Journal
's Beth Reinhard notes
, pressure is now mounting on Pawlenty to persuade Republicans that he's a contender. He'll need to prove that he can keep pace with Romney's impressive fundraising and build his name identification.
"We are not going to be the money champion in the race to start with. My friend Mitt Romney will be the front-runner in that regard," Pawlenty said on Today
Pawlenty will also face competition in Iowa from other conservative candidates, and will have to build a strong profile of his own in the state.
"Any serious presidential candidate needs to do well [in Iowa]," Pawlenty said on Good Morning America
-- Amanda Munoz-Temple and Christopher Peleo-Lazar contributed to this report.