Little-known Pawlenty enters race for Republican presidential nomination
TIM Pawlenty yesterday officially hit the campaign trail for the first time in the contest for the 2012 Republican nomination -- a race in which the little-known former governor of Minnesota has suddenly emerged, almost by default, as one of the leading contenders.
Mr Pawlenty acknowledged his underdog status. His campaign would be "a good solid Buick" compared with the Mercedes model of his rival Mitt Romney, the frontrunner.
But he proclaimed himself "a serious person with serious solutions" for the country's problems.
Mr Pawlenty's debut in Iowa, whose caucuses next February kick off the primary season, came as the long fluid Republican field started to become clearer.
On Sunday, Indiana's Governor Mitch Daniels ended months of uncertainty by declaring that he would not run, just days after a similar decision from Mike Huckabee.
This leaves the focus on a trio of former governors: Mr Pawlenty, Mr Romney (who led Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007) and Jon Huntsman of Utah, who was Mr Obama's ambassador in China before resigning last month.
The other prominent, declared candidate at this stage is Newt Gingrich. (© Independent News Service)