Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty tried to burnish his credentials on abortion and gay marriage in Iowa on Monday.
Pawlenty appeared at several events hosted by The Iowa Family Leader, a group that opposes same sex marriage and legalized abortion. Pawlenty, a possible candidate for president in 2012, tried to showcase himself as an approachable, devout Christian.
"I have strong views about faith and families and matters relating to traditional marriage and being pro-life and other issues," Pawlenty said. "As I discuss those, and I try to influence and persuade other people to join my cause. I try to do it in a way that is thoughtful and civil and respectful."
Pawlenty also said he'd consider increasing the federal child tax credit as a way to help parents struggling in the bad economy. He said he'd be open to raising the tax deduction for children.
"We should double or triple that and say to families, 'You know what, if you're in that group or that category that you're financially on the edge, you're stressed, you're worried about getting your car filled up with gas or getting your health insurance premiums," Pawlenty said. "As a priority, we're going to cut you some slack. We're going to give you a little breathing room. It may not solve all of their problems but it will help take off some of that pressure."
Pawlenty didn't detail how he would pay for the tax cut. He's been a constant critic of President Obama for the federal budget deficit.
Before one of the events, Pawlenty told reporters he would announce his presidential intentions soon, but added that he's leaning toward running in 2012.
(Iowa Public Radio's Kate Wells contributed to this report)