The Associated Press is reporting that former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will announce the formation of an exploratory committee today, joining Herman Cain in the first stage of preparing a presidential run.
This information is said to come from an anonymous inside source, which means either Pawlenty is going to be angry at some staffer for spoiling his big 3:00 PM Facebook announcement, or he’s deliberately “leaking” the information to work up some drama. I hope it’s the latter, because I don’t want to live in a world that can make Tim Pawlenty lose his temper.
Pawlenty’s affable style and low profile are both his greatest asset and biggest hurdle to overcome. He presently raises few strong objections from any part of the Republican coalition, but scientists have measured the excitement level of his campaign at just over 14 thunes, which is roughly the amount of radiation produced by the race for student council president in a typical Midwestern suburb.
He gave a solid speech at CPAC, and the crowd seemed to genuinely like him. He’s got a record of experience as governor to look back upon, not all of it entirely thrilling to Tea Party voters. As that record is, inevitably, picked apart, Republican primary voters will have to decide what they could expect from him as President, and whether everyone’s favorite Uncle Tim has the juice to light up a 2012 campaign guaranteed to be tough as hell. If the expected announcement appears on Facebook at three o’clock Eastern, we’ll start learning if anyone is willing to bet good campaign money on it.