Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty through his hat in the ring this morning with an expected announcement that he is running for President in 2012.

Report from WHO in Des Moines, Iowa:

Report from the LA Times:

Reporting from Des Moines— Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign rests on this question: Will Republican voters itching for confrontation with President Obama deliver their nomination to a man who tends toward soft-spoken and bland?

As he formally announced his run here Monday, the former Minnesota governor sought distance from the GOP field by casting himself as an everyman who would speak frankly to Americans about the gravity of the nation’s challenges.

Charging that Obama has failed to tackle difficult issues like entitlement reform and warning that “the pain of the recent recession will pale in comparison to what’s coming,” Pawlenty chided the president for backing a “pork-filled stimulus bill” and financial bailouts for well connected businesses, and called his healthcare plan “an unmitigated disaster for our country.”

“Someone has to stand up and finally level with the American people,” Pawlenty told an audience of several hundred people in Iowa, which is likely to serve as a pivot point for his bid. “Someone has to lead. I will.”

If Pawlenty, introduced by his wife as “the salt of the earth,” was more tart than usual, he still evinced the comfortable Midwestern appeal that he hopes will make him more palatable than the alternatives that could confront Republican voters.

Interesting part here is how the Democratic Party has begun attacking Pawlenty out of the gate impugning his record as Minnesota Governor.