The gloves came off Sunday in the conflict between the two Minnesotans vying for the Republican presidential nomination, when Rep. Michele Bachmann made her first attack against former Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Pawlenty’s campaign shot back.
Bachmann’s campaign released a statement Sunday accusing Pawlenty of bearing responsibility for Minnesota’s budget deficit, supporting big government, cap-and-trade, and the Troubled Asset Relief Program. (Bachmann campaign fires omnibus broadside at Pawlenty)
Pawlenty spokesperson Alex Conant issued a response, saying Bachmann was all talk and no substance.
Congresswoman Bachmann has her facts wrong. The truth is that there is very little difference between Governor Pawlenty and Congresswoman Bachmann on their issue positions. The difference is that when Governor Pawlenty was scoring conservative victories to cut spending, pass market-based health care reform, and transform a supreme court from liberal to conservative, and was elected twice in a very blue state, Congresswoman Bachmann was giving speeches and offering failed amendments, all while struggling mightily to hold onto the most Republican house seat in the state. In order to beat Barack Obama, Republicans need someone who can unite conservatives with a proven track record of winning conservative results and tough elections — that’s Governor Pawlenty. The Governor looks forward to discussing these issues eye-to-eye with voters in town halls across Iowa next week.
Pawlenty has attacked Bachmann’s record before as “non-existent.” He was the first candidate to suggest that Bachmann’s chronic migraine headaches might hinder her ability to serve as president.
Bachmann’s strength in Iowa is seen as problematic for Pawlenty’s campaign, since success in the state’s caucuses is seen as crucial to the viability of Pawlenty’s continuing candidacy.