WASHINGTON Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is taking the first formal step today toward a presidential run, putting him in front of the pack of potential candidates.
Pawlenty announced through a video posted on his Facebook page this afternoon that he is forming a presidential exploratory committee. The committee allows him to begin raising money for a presidential race, even while not technically being a formal candidate.
The video shows Pawlenty in St. Paul, Minn., dressed in a beige jacket that is strikingly familiar to the barn jacket Scott Brown wore to victory in Massachusetts (Brown’s was made by Golden Bear Sportswear; Pawlenty’s clearly has a Carhartt label).
The heavily produced video also shows Pawlenty shaking hands, posing for pictures, and skating on an ice rink.
“There is a brighter future for America,” he says at one point, with soaring music in the background. “We know what we need to do: grow jobs, limit govt spending, and tackle entitlements.”
“Today, I’m announcing the formation of an exploratory committee to run for president of the United States,” he says toward the end, as fighter planes blast through the sky and fireworks go off. “Join the team, and together we’ll restore America.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich previously declared he intends to form an exploratory committee at some future date, likely in May.
Pawlenty has already traveled to New Hampshire and hired aides to work on a campaign, but the committee step is the next available to candidates to earn free media coverage in advance of a pomp-filled formal announcement.
The announcement also reflects the new-media tools available to candidates, in how they choose to make major political news. Rather than staging a press conference or addressing supporters in a ballroom, Pawlenty is choosing to weigh in on the most popular social networking site.
“Be sure to visit my Facebook page today at 3 p.m. ET for a special message exclusive to Facebook supporters,” Pawlenty posted this morning on his Facebook page.
He sent a similar message out on his Twitter feed.
Matt Viser can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.