Tim Pawlenty, with his campaign floundering at the 5% mark everywhere, took aim at the campaign that may run him out of this contest, Michelle Bachmann, by characterizing her Congressional record as “non-existent”. Bachmann responded by essentially ignoring the barb, issuing a statement:
“This is an election about the future of our nation – one where voters will have to decide who is best equipped to lead our nation by looking at our records, as well as our vision for the nation. Instead of negativity, I want to focus on my accomplishments.
“I have fought the cap-and-trade agenda, rather than implement it, and I will work to end cap-and-trade as President of the United States. I stood up against President Obama’s support of the $700 billion bailout rather than defend it.
“I was a leading voice, fighting against Obamacare and the unconstitutional individual mandates; I did not lift my voice in praise of it. My message brought tens of thousands of Americans to Washington D.C. to oppose Obamacare. As President I will not rest until Obamacare is repealed. And I will not vote to raise the debt ceiling.
“People can count on me as a fighter; I am proud of my record of fighting with resolve, and without apology, for our free markets, for sane fiscal policies, and in opposition to the advancement of the big government left. As President, the American people can count on me to stand by my record of advancing pro-growth policies to put our nation back on the right track.”
It appears to be dawning on Pawlenty that his image needs toughening. I heard him brag on Meet the Press that he was a hockey player and had been in more fights than his opponents. Despite that hockey experience he is about to be knocked out by Bachmann. Pawlenty is making a big stand at the Iowa straw poll in August, and he badly needs to finish in the top two. Expectations are rising for Bachmann, so she has got a lot riding on this as well. Bachmann should win, but we do not as of yet know whether her political skills include organizational talent. We shall see. Chris Cillizza handicaps the Straw Poll over at the Washington Post.