Peter J. Smith

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Pro-life Gov. Tim Pawlenty takes step toward presidential bid

Peter J. Smith
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota, March 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pro-life and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has announced his official plans to test the waters for a full-fledged run for U.S. president today, making the announcement public through the social networking site Facebook.

Pawlenty is now the second Republican to begin a serious presidential bid by forming an exploratory committee - the other is black pro-life businessman and former CEO Herman Cain.

Exploration committees allow candidates to raise money, conduct polling, and travel the country to determine whether they have a viable shot for the highest office in the land.

In the announcement the former governor focused primarily on the need to “grow jobs, limit government spending, and tackle entitlements.”

“We need to encourage the dreamers and innovators, the small business owners, the hard workers, the brave men and women throughout this country’s history that have asked for nothing more than the freedom to work hard and get ahead without government getting in the way,” he said.

The former Minnesota governor is a social conservative who has used his leadership in government to advocate for the pro-life cause. Pawlenty spoke at a number of pro-life and pro-family values events during his tenure as governor, such as the Values Voter Summit and Minnesota’s March for Life.

He also signed the “Women’s Right to Know” law, which establishes a mandatory 24-hour waiting period for abortion and the right of women to have information on the risks of abortion, as well as other legislation spreading awareness about fetal pain and abortion alternatives. He also refused an $850,000 federal grant to fund “comprehensive” sex education in Minnesota public schools, in favor of an abstinence-only sex education program.

Pawlenty also announced in 2010 that April would be “Abortion Recovery Month” in the state of Minnesota – a move which drew criticism from Planned Parenthood and its political allies.

Pawlenty also has strong ties with the National Association of Evangelicals, which claims to represent 30 million U.S. evangelical Christians. The NAE’s president Leith Anderson presided over Pawlenty’s marriage to his wife.

The Minnesota governor remains an unknown political quantity to most of the GOP and the American public. A recent Washington Post poll said that six in ten GOP voters did not know enough about Pawlenty to give an opinion, meaning Pawlenty’s primary challenge will be to gain exposure.

Other potential pro-life GOP candidates include former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. Both have publicly raised an interest in running for the presidency just short of forming their own exploratory committees.

Other Republicans who are suspected to have presidential ambitions include Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Sarah Palin – all former U.S. governors with their own conservative loyalists in the GOP.

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