Tim Pawlenty will formally announce his campaign for the presidency in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, but he pre-announced his bid Sunday with a slickly-produced video much like the one he posted earlier this year as he dipped his toe into the race. The candidate will appear on several morning shows in a media blitz that will be aided by fellow Midwesterner Mitch Daniels' dropping out of the race this weekend.
In the video, Pawlenty repeatedly promises to "tell the truth," instead of promising to elimintate the debt and create millions of jobs like other politicians. The Republican also took the that message to the op-ed pages of USA Today Monday, saying, "Anyone who can't tell hard truths now won't be able to lead our country in the future. We now know that President's Obama's promise of 'hope and change' was just hopeless hype."
NBC News' First Read explains Pawlenty's message as an attempt to grab "the mantle as the straight-talking truth-teller" from Daniels and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has repeatedly pushed back against buzz that he'll run in 2012. "The question this tough rhetoric raises is whether Mr. Minnesota Nice is the right candidate for this message," First Read writes. "Tactically, this is exactly where a candidate vying to be the alternative to Romney ought to be, given where the conservative opinion elite and grassroots are. But can Pawlenty sell it?"
Despite the tough criticism of Obama, Pawlenty's video is meant to be inspiring. In making his announcement, he muses, "I could have balloons, red ones, white ones, and blue ones..." The video begins with the kind of inspirational music one might find in a pharmaceutical commercial, before hitting a U2ish power pop crescendo as Pawlenty says he's lived the American Dream.