Republican Tim Pawlenty at the podium in Des Moines, Iowa, announcing his run for president.
Officially announcing his presidential campaign from Iowa, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty today said that this is a "time for truth," and that he's running "to keep the American dream alive."
His kick-off touched on multiple issues -- the country's debt, entitlement programs, even taking on ethanol subsidies in this agriculture-heavy state.
His "truth telling" began with the country's national debt and energy subsidies, saying: "America is facing a crushing debt crisis, the likes of which we've never seen before. We need to cut spending, and we need to cut it -- big time. The hard truth is that there are no longer any sacred programs."
Pawlenty continued, "The truth about federal energy subsidies, including federal subsidies for ethanol, is that they have to be phased out. We need to do it gradually. We need to do it fairly. But we need to do it."
The former governor said he plans to go to Florida tomorrow, where he'll tell "both young people and seniors the truth that our entitlement programs are on an unsustainable path, and that inaction is no longer an option."
Following his trip to Florida, Pawlenty stated he'll make his way up to New York City, where he'll tell Wall Street that if he's elected, "the era of bailouts, handouts, and carve outs will be over. No more subsidies, no more special treatment. No more Fannie and Freddie, no more TARP, and no more too big to fail."
While staying away from other Republican candidates for the most part, he DID mention Jon Huntsman when discussing his experience overseas saying, "I think in terms of the 2012 candidates -- with the possible exception of my friend Jon Huntsman, I'm gonna have the most or as much international experience of anybody in the field."
He followed up by listing some of the places he's visited, "I've been to Iraq five times; I've been to Afghanistan three times, visiting troops and giving encouragement as commander-in chief of the [state's] National Guard, although they were on fed mission at the time. I've been to Bosnia and Kosovo. I've led trade missions all over the world, including South America, China, and India."