On announcement day, Pawlenty downplays charisma concerns

GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty on Monday downplayed concerns about his lack of charisma just hours before he is expected to officially announce his campaign.

One of the main questions dogging Pawlenty's presidential bid is whether he can be dynamic enough to motivate voters to come out and support him. Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor, expressed confidence that his background and personal experience will be enough to woo support.

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"I'm not running for entertainer in chief. These are serious times and they need serious people with serious solutions," he said on NBC's "Today" show. "So if you're looking for the loudest comedian in the race, vote for somebody else. But I'll bring the solutions forward that will actually fix the country."

Pawlenty is looking to get an early start on his campaign to build support and boost his low name recognition.

He is announcing his presidential campaign in Iowa Monday afternoon and appeared on the morning shows of the three major networks to tout his candidacy. He also released a Web video Sunday night and published an op-ed in the USA Today on Monday.

Many Republicans remain dissatisfied with the GOP field and have clamored for a dark-horse candidate to enter the race, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) or Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Both men have said they have no intention of running.

In the existing field, Pawlenty is seen as a viable alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the front-runner for the GOP nomination.

If he is going to defeat Romney, Pawlenty conceded, it won't be by outraising him on the fundraising circuit. 

"We're not going to be the money champion in the race to start with. My friend Mitt Romney will be the front-runner in that regard," he said.

Pawlenty repeated his claim that he could raise enough cash to be competititve.

"We're going to have enough money to run a competitive and successful campaign," he said. "It may not be the BMW or the Mercedes campaign. But it'll be a good solid Buick and maybe even trending toward a Cadillac."

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