Pawlenty: Don't ‘goof this up'
by nominating the wrong candidate
Pawlenty. By Douglas Burns, Carroll
Daily Times Herald |
GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty
is seeking to link his chief rival in
the Iowa caucuses to President Obama,
suggesting both are showhorses strong
on rhetoric and weak on results.
Speaking to about 25 people at Pizza Ranch
in Carroll last Thursday, Pawlenty only
once referenced U.S. Rep. Michelle Bachmann,
R-Minn., a fellow contender for the White
House. But he clearly was attempting to
build a narrative of Bachmann, who has
polled high in Iowa, as a policy lightweight
who lacks the executive experience of
Pawlenty, a former two-term governor of
"The Democrats and others elected
someone who is not prepared and equipped
to be president of the United States,"
As a result, Pawlenty said, President
Obama is vulnerable in 2012. The economic
situation and doubts about the president
in battleground states are buoying Republican
prospects of taking the White House.
"The main way we're going to goof
this up as Republicans is to nominate
the wrong candidate," Pawlenty said.
"If we nominate somebody that the
rest of the party, the rest of the country
says, ‘Uh, I don't think so,' we're going
to get off on the wrong journey."
Pawlenty said there's no consolation prize
for Iowans if they select a candidate
in the caucuses who can't win a general
election against Obama — "and really
can't be the president of the United States
in the most historic, challenging of times,
and all that that implies in terms of
the experience that goes with the job."
Yes, he's saying Bachmann doesn't clear
a competency threshold without actually
When challenged by the audience about
the not-so-thinly veiled criticism of
Bachmann, a Tea Party movement darling,
Pawlenty acknowledged "there's been
a little back and forth with her and me."
Bachmann appeared in Carroll early in
July but took no questions from the media
or audience. She bounded off a bus, delivered
a speech in front of Pizza Ranch, did
an impromptu dance with former Carroll
City Councilman Ken Shibata and signed
autographs before leaving. Meanwhile,
Pawlenty, dressed in jeans and a blue
oxford shirt, fielded about a dozen questions
from the audience inside Pizza Ranch following
his speech and sat down for about 20 minutes
with the Daily Times Herald and La Prensa
Hispanic Newspaper for an interview.
Before he left Pizza Ranch, Pawlenty walked
through the buffet line, chatting with
patrons, and filling a to-go container.
On the issues, Pawlenty said he supports
performance pay for teachers, not just
locked-in compensation based on longevity.
He also said the U.S. government would
have to phase out ethanol subsidies and
raise the retirement age for Social Security
gradually, giving Americans decades to
prepare for the change on the latter.
Pawlenty supports free trade but said
he's no "chump," and wants agreements
to truly be fair.
The Minnesotan already has one local western
Iowa elected official on board as a supporter
of his presidential campaign.
"I was impressed with a speech that
he gave about a year ago," Carroll
City Councilman Adam Schweers said. "I've
followed him. I was happy to see that
he stepped out quite early, and I think
his track record is something to speak
volumes to. I know Minnesota has always
been very highly respected as a place
to live, an economic driver."
Schweers said Pawlenty's Midwestern values
and work ethic are clear.
"I really think he's somebody who's
put forth the time and effort and showed
some results," Schweers said. CV
Douglas Burns is a fourth-generation
Iowa newspaperman who writes for The Carroll
Daily Times Herald and offers columns