DNC ad attacks Pawlenty as he prepares to make candidacy official

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Tim Pawlenty will formally announce his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president Monday afternoon in Iowa, and in preparation, the Democratic National Committee has prepared an ad attacking Pawlenty as a candidate who is trying to be everything to everyone, and failing to be all of those things.

The ad — entitled “Why?” — plays on a recent statement Pawlenty made in an interview with Time magazine. He was asked “when he first imagined himself worthy of the history books, ready to send soldiers to their deaths and endure the national stage’s harsh toll.”

“I don’t know,” replied Pawlenty. “I wish I had a good answer for you on that.”

“Why is Tim Pawlenty running for President?” says the script on the screen, as the type of music that generally accompanies a clown plays.

The ad attacks Pawlenty for cutting healthcare for low income residents of Minnesota while serving as governor and for the fact that the state currently has a $6 billion deficit. It also notes that Pawlenty’s approval ratings had slipped by his second term.

“Is he representing the Tea Party?” asks the script, before showing clips of Pawlenty praising President George W. Bush’s policies and supporting cap and trade.

“Maybe he’s the moderate alternative to Tea Party conservatives?” asks the script, before showing clips of Pawlenty disowning his prior position on cap and trade, denouncing Obama’s health care program and saying that President Obama is embarrassed by the United States.

“Tell us Tim… Why are you running?” rolls the script.

“I don’t know, I wish I had a good answer for you on that,” it says, quoting the Time magazine article.

The author of the Time piece, Michael Crowley, disputed the DNC’s interpretation of Pawlenty’s statement on Twitter Friday.

“DNC hit on TPaw distorts what he said to me about running: “I don’t know” referred to when he first saw self as a prez–not WHY he’s running,” Crowley tweeted.

Pawlenty, who released a video of his own Sunday, will announce his candidacy at a town hall style event in Iowa.

Watch the DNC ad: