Tim Pawlenty: Michele Bachmann Hasn’t Really Accomplished Much In Congress
Tim Pawlenty took aim at Michele Bachmann yesterday but will he keep up the attack?
Tim Pawlenty opened fire on his fellow Minnesotan during an appearance in Iowa yesterday:
Pawlenty’s record as governor for eight years has drawn increasing scrutiny and criticism from some who say his budget practices are at least partially responsible for Minnesota’s current government shutdown and $5 billion deficit.
In contrasting himself with popular competitor and fellow Minnesotan Michele Bachmann, Pawlenty said she’s had only legislative experience, and “as to specific results that have been achieved, I’m not sure what they would be.”
Asked about Bachmann, who in last month’s Des Moines Register Iowa Poll was sitting at 22 percent in Iowa among likely Republican caucusgoers versus his own 6 percent, Pawlenty said: “Each candidate brings some different strengths to the table, and mine include having been an executive of a large public enterprise in a difficult environment and actually getting things proposed and results to conclusion. I’m not sure what she would say in that regard. … She’s been in the legislative arena, as to specific results that have been achieved, I’m not sure what they would be.”
Pawlenty said he’s confident his poll numbers will rise.
It’s a completely fair comment on Pawlenty’s part, of course. As I’ve noted before, Bachmann’s record in the time she’s been in Congress, which is pretty short itself, is painfully thin. She hasn’t sponsored or co-sponsored a single bill that’s become law, she’s never been a committee or subcommittee chair, and she hasn’t had any of her bills or amendments successfully pass a Congressional committee, even since the GOP has been in charge. She’s been little more than a bomb thrower.
Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Bachmann has done an excellent job of bringing government pork to her district, opposing earmarks while still trying to preserve them secretly, and personally benefiting from government largesse. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose, but hardly the stuff a President is made of.
It’s not surprising to see Pawlenty going after Bachmann like this. She’s currently surging in Iowa while he continues to lag, and it’s rather apparent that Pawlenty’s campaign will live or die based on what happens in the Iowa caucuses. At the moment, though, Bachmann is in the way and she’s threatening to take on the role of the anti-Romney, a role many thought Pawlenty would be filling by now. Taking her on, especially on the issue of political accomplishments (where Pawlenty clearly beats her) is a pretty smart strategy.
Of course, that requires Tim Pawlenty to be consistent in his messaging. As we saw with the whole “Obamneycare” fiasco, he’s very good at pointing out sharp differences between himself and other candidates when talking to the press but, when he’s asked to do the same thing in a debate forum, he backs away. Will the same thing happen with Bachmann? We’ll see at the next debate, I suppose. If Pawlenty backs down again, then his image as a wimp will be solidified and his chance to become a breakthrough candidate will most likely have come to an end.