And they're off: Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty announced on Facebook Monday that he has formed an exploratory committee for 2012. "We're filing paperwork to form an exploratory committee to run for president of the United States," the Republican pol said on a conference call earlier in the day, adding it would allow him to take the "initial steps" to run for president. His campaign will be headquartered in the Twin Cities. "With all due respect for President Obama, I think he's taken this country in the wrong direction," Pawlenty said. "This is the greatest nation this world has ever known and it's in trouble and it needs a new direction and it needs new leadership."
DIVING IN Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images, Chip Somodevilla