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Elbows Sharpen in Bachmann, Pawlenty Feud

Minnesota GOP rivals trade barbs in make-or-break Iowa

Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann (Photo credit: Star Tribune)

By Kevin Diaz
Star Tribune
July 26, 2011


WASHINGTON — No more Minnesota Nice between presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.

In one of the most intriguing subplots of the 2012 GOP nominating contest, the two Minnesota Republicans have begun trading jabs in Iowa over everything from Bachmann’s penchant for gaffes to Pawlenty’s conservative credentials.

“She has a record for saying things that are off the mark,” Pawlenty said Monday in Davenport, where he emphasized his executive experience. “There is a big difference between talking about things and getting them done.”

Pawlenty’s swipes came in response to a weekend broadside by Bachmann, who compared him to President Obama on the central complaint of the Tea Party movement.

“I have fought against irresponsible spending while Governor Pawlenty was leaving a multibillion-dollar budget mess in Minnesota,” said Bachmann, echoing the Democratic critique of the former two-term governor. …

Bachmann, leading in the polls in a state [Iowa] where both need to do well, had kept her powder dry until now, rejecting what she called “negative” politics.

But Pawlenty, trailing badly, began taking regular shots a week ago, portraying Bachmann as someone with “speech capabilities” but little substance to back that up.

With the all-important straw poll in Ames just three weeks away, Bachmann decided to hit back. On Sunday, hours after Pawlenty criticized her during a CNN interview, Bachmann issued a sweeping statement on Pawlenty’s record as governor, attacking him for his past praise for Wall Street bailouts, health care mandates and climate change regulations.

“Executive experience is not an asset if it simply means bigger and more intrusive government,” said Bachmann, taking aim at the Pawlenty campaign’s core selling point. …

Bachmann, reacting to Pawlenty’s continuing attacks on her congressional record, dug up some of the positions of Pawlenty’s past, including a 2006 speech as governor when he said, “The era of small government is over.”

“That’s the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment and an unconstitutional health care plan,” Bachmann said in a statement from Cedar Rapids.

Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant responded that “there is very little difference” between Bachmann and Pawlenty on the issues. Firing back, he added that while Pawlenty was pressing spending cuts on a DFL Legislature in Minnesota, Bachmann “was giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all the while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican House seat in the state.” …

Full story


Related report

Bachmann vs Pawlenty, Round 1

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) addresses a gathering of supporters in June 2011 to formally launch her campaign for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination in her childhood hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. (Photo credit: Jeff Haynes / Reuters)

By and
The Fix

July 25, 2011


After weeks of ignoring attempts by Tim Pawlenty to draw her into a back-and-forth over their respective records, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann unloaded on her home state’s former governor Sunday — comparing his record to that of President Obama.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Bachmann in a statement released by her campaign, taking Pawlenty to task over health care, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and cap-and-trade legislation.

“Governor Pawlenty said in 2006, ‘The era of small government is over … The government has to be more proactive and more aggressive,’ ” said Bachmann. “That’s the same philosophy that, under President Obama, has brought us record deficits, massive unemployment, and an unconstitutional health care plan.” …

Pawlenty has been goading Bachmann for weeks as he seeks to make up ground against her in Iowa — a state seen as a must-win for both candidates’ chances in the 2012 presidential race.

Pawlenty’s main attack on Bachmann is that she lacks any record of achievment, and it appears that Pawlenty’s comments to CNN’s Candy Crowley along those lines are what set Bachmann off.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Pawlenty said that “these are really serious times and there hasn’t been somebody who went [directly] from the U.S. House of Representatives to the presidency, I think, in over a hundred years, and there’s a reason for that.”

Pawlenty was the only major candidate to suggest that her struggles with migraines, which came to light last week, were a legitimate part of the 2012 debate. Pawlenty later walked those remarks back.

And, in response to Bachmann’s attack on Pawlenty’s record, his campaign made clear they won’t be backing down.

“The truth is that there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty and Congresswoman Bachmann on their issue positions,” said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. “The difference is that when governor Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories … Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments — all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican house seat in the state.” …

Full story



Is this ‘Minnesota Nice’? (MSNBC-TV, July 26, 2011) — NBC’s Domenico Montanaro looks at the budding rivalry between Republican presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty and what it means to the campaign. (01:45)


Related reports on this site

Bachmann-Pawlenty.jpg picture by Rifleman-Al

Bachmann Migraine Hatchet Job (July 23, 2011)

Michele Bachmann Surges in Presidential Polling (July 21, 2011)

Bachmann Flying High in Iowa (June 26, 2011)

Tim Pawlenty’s Personality Profile: Respectful, Submissive (June 16, 2011)

Bachmann-Pawlenty ‘Minnesota Twins’ Grudge Match (June 7, 2011)

Democrats Link Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann (Sept. 20, 2009)

Pawlenty Compared to Bachmann (Sept. 10, 2009)


Related Presidential Candidate Psychological Profiles

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Provisional Personality Profile -- Michele Bachmann (May 2011)
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4 Responses to “Bachmann, Pawlenty Pour It On in War of Words”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Bachmann, Pawlenty ‘Slugfest’ At Iowa GOP / Fox News Debate Says:

    […] Bachmann, Pawlenty Pour It On in War of Words (July 28, 2011) […]

  2. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Campaign for President Says:

    […] Bachmann, Pawlenty Pour It On in War of Words (July 28, 2011) […]

  3. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Rick Perry Hurts Michele Bachmann in GOP Primary Says:

    […] The advance staff offended officials at a Humboldt County GOP fundraiser on Aug. 9, 2011, by asking the crowd to leave their suppers and gather around her bus. They wanted Bachmann’s theatricals to appear polished compared to those of Tim Pawlenty, a fellow Minnesotan, who was speaking on a bare stage inside. […]

  4. The Immelman Turn » Blog Archive » Tim Pawlenty Runs for Minnesota Governor Again Says:

    […] Bachmann, Pawlenty Pour It On in War of Words (July 28, 2011) […]

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