Published: May 23, 2011 5:16 PM EDT
Updated: May 23, 2011 5:16 PM EDT

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Tim Pawlenty is casting himself as the Republican candidate willing to tell the country hard truths as he seeks the presidency, announcing in corn-dependent Iowa that its prized federal subsidies for ethanol should be phased out.

Pawlenty made his first public appearance Monday since announcing his candidacy late Sunday. He told supporters and GOP activists in the leadoff caucus state the nation can no longer afford to support the corn-based fuel additive.

Pawlenty says he knows it's risky to challenge the prized subsidy on Iowa soil, where the former Minnesota governor must win or do very well in next year's caucuses.

Pawlenty also said he plans to discuss changes to Social Security Tuesday when he campaigns in Florida, home to millions of the nation's retirees.

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