The rumors have abounded for weeks regarding the whether former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty would seek the Presidency in 2012. Today we have an unsurprising answer which will be formally announced at 3pm eastern time this afternoon live via Facebook.

You can watch the announcement on Pawlenty’s Facebook page here.

Details from the Washington Post:

Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty will announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee this afternoon, according to two aides briefed on the decision.

The announcement will be aired live on Facebook at 3 pm, making Pawlenty the first ever candidate to begin the formal process of running for president via the ubiquitous social network. He is expected to officially enter the race later this spring.

The formation of an exploratory committee will allow Pawlenty to raise money and travel the country in support of what is a near-certain run for president. Pawlenty has been a frequent visitor to early primary and caucus states like Iowa and New Hampshire this year and, through his Freedom First political action committee, has already been hiring staff in each of these states.

Pawlenty is the second candidate to take formal steps toward the 2012 race, following longshot Herman Cain into the contest. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is currently in a “testing the waters” phase, a pre-exploratory step. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour appears to be moving toward the race with an April deadline to make a decision. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is widely expected to run.

Here is Pawlenty’s official announcement video:

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