Election 101: Tim Pawlenty as 'everyman's' candidate? Ten points about who he is.

Tim Pawlenty wants a White House ending to his rags-to-riches rise. The former governor declared his candidacy for president May 22 in a video released on his website. The grandson of German immigrants and the first in his family to attend college, Pawlenty is hoping his foes’ flaws are his ticket to victory.

Jim Cole/AP/File
In this April 30 file photo, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty speaks during a We the People candidates forum in Manchester, N.H. On Sunday, May 22, Pawlenty released an Internet video ahead of a public appearance Monday in Iowa, where he planned to formally enter the race for the 2012 GOP nomination.

1. Who is he, anyway?

Joshua Roberts/Reuters
Governor Tim Pawlenty, a Republican from Minnesota, speaks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) during their annual meeting in Washington, on February 19, 2010.

Pawlenty is the star of a classic up-by-the-bootstraps story. The grandson of German immigrants and the son of a milk truck driver father and a stay-at-home mom who died when he was 16, Pawlenty is one of five children raised in a working-class St. Paul neighborhood and the first in his family to attend college. After a difficult chemistry class rerouted his dream of becoming a dentist, Pawlenty became a lawyer, dabbled in business, and entered local and state politics. As Minnesota governor he balanced the state’s $4.3 billion deficit without raising taxes and was on the short list to become John McCain’s running mate in 2008.

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